Hornets put it all together in rout of Vanguards
EAST NOTTINGHAM » Sun Valley came out of the gate strong Friday night, but Oxford turned what looked like might it be a close game early on into a blowout.
After spotting the Vanguards an early lead, the Hornets reeled off 49 unanswered points on the way to a 55-13 victory.
“It shows what we’re capable of and what we can do when we put in four good quarters on both sides the ball,” said Oxford coach Mike Means. “Really it’s the first time we’ve done that all year. Even in our other wins, we didn’t execute on both offense and defense for all four quarters. The kids were just really dialed in tonight after a great week of practice.”
Sun Valley (3-3, 1-2) came into the contest two points behind the Hornets (4-2, 1-2) in the District 1 power rankings, sitting at No. 11 while Oxford is 10th. And at the outset, the Vanguards looked primed to push the Hornets for that spot.
After forcing a three-andout on Oxford’s first possession, Sun Valley marched off a 62-yard scoring drive, capped by a 38-yard pass from Anthony Ellis to Julz Kelly. Twice more in the first period, the Vanguards found themselves deep in Hornets territory, only to come up short on fourth and short in the red zone.
“We moved the ball pretty well early on, scoring on the first drive,” said Sun Valley coach Greg Bernhart. “We shot ourselves in the foot on a couple of drives, getting hit with an offsides on fourth and 2. But then Oxford came out in the second half things just snowballed and everything that could go wrong went wrong. We just have to put this behind us and get back to work Monday and try to make the playoffs.”
Lost in the final outcome for Sun Valley was a nice day from running back Caliph Jones, who finished the day with 148 yards on 22 carries.
Riding the momentum of the Hornets’ first big defensive stop, the offense finally got going with a fourplay, 72-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 44-yard run from Brandon Holz, who led the Hornet ground game with 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries.
“None of us was happy about what happened last week against Unionville,” said Holz. “That was not Oxford football. We knew we were going to have to come out and play this week. Offense and defense, we played the kind of game we knew we can play.”
Oxford capped the drive with an 11-yard pass from Chandler England to Brandon DeShields, who finished ith four catches, 84 yards and a touchdown.
“They came out and scored on that first drive on us, and we just said ‘OK, that’s it,’” said Hornet safety Brett Kochmansky, who not only was all over the field making tackles all night, but chipped in with a 30yard rushing touchdown on his only carry. “We decided that we weren’t going to give anything else up. We didn’t drop our heads and just got to work.”
The Hornet defense came up big again late in the second, killing a drive at midfield when Julian Nadachowski recovered a Vanguard fumble. A few short plays later, the Hornets bumped the lead to 21-7 headed into the break.
England was efficient, if not prolific through the air, completing 8 of 11 passes for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran four a pair of scores.
“We were worried coming into this game,” said Means. “We watched them on tape, we saw how tough they’ve played, even in their losses. This was just one of those nights when everything just worked for us.”
Oxford players celebrate Bret Kochmansky’s touchdown against Sun Valley Friday night.
Oxford’s Brandon Holz Dives four a touchdown in front of Sun Valley’s Dom Ellis Friday night.