OAKWOOD -- With starter Key’Undre Davis sidelined in an ankle boot, the remaining nine Oakwood Panthers gamely faced a visiting mob from Union Hill at the OHS Homecoming game Friday night. The Bulldog pack was athletic and numbered twenty strong, but the Panthers, led by senior Jerimiah Sargent, put up a good fight. Oakwood drew first blood, but the Bulldogs ultimately prevailed, 52-6.
Winning the toss, the Panthers elected to receive and turned their first possession into a 72-yard scoring drive. After picking up hard-earned rushing yardage, Sargent connected with freshman Isaiah Jacobs on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
That would prove to be the highlight of the night for Oakwood fans. Two other promising Panther drives were squelched inside the 10-yard line. UHHS senior Brantley Murray anchored the Bulldogs’ offense as they pounded away at the Panthers, scoring the next seven touchdowns. The abbreviated game ended midway through the third quarter, when Union Hill’s final touchdown put them beyond the 45-point spread, invoking the Mercy Rule.
Sargent was the workhorse for the Panthers on both sides of the ball. He was the leading tackler on defense. Through the air, Sargent connected with Zack Nickerson, Cooper Edgemon and Jacobs. He caught one pass, from Edgemon, for 7 yards. On the ground, Sargent was Oakwood's leading rusher, followed by Nickerson.
After the frustrating game, Sargent expressed his determination to shoulder this loss and move on. "Only thing I can do is keep trying to lead my team -- step up as a leader. Right now we are a little down. We don't have Key'Undre and he's a big part of our offense. We've just got to come back -- that's all we can do. There's nothing else to it."
Head Coach Tommy Tritz concurred. "We've got to take this defeat and turn around and use it for motivation. We know that these non-district games are not important as far as our big picture. We're looking for a district championship and that's gonna happen. We've got to take nights like tonight and take that into our practice on Monday and try to improve. This wasn't indicative of Panther football."
The Panthers travel to Coolidge on 10/11 and have a bye on 10/18 before beginning district competition on 10/25 at Chester.