An old and dangerous opponent came to town Friday, visited Oakland and left with a win; your final between two state ranked teams, Gallatin 31-Oakland 29.
This game was decided both early, as Oakland opened flatfooted, porous and slow and late because Gallatin’s winning field goal split the uprights with less than a second remaining on the clock.
In between was sandwiched some exciting play and one of the toughest losses I’ve witnessed in recent years.
It was a tale of two halves.
Gallatin had a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter when Oakland’s Emmanuel Smith went 80 yards for a touchdown, a safety by T.J. Brown soon followed and then a short TD run by Devonte Swader brought Oakland within five at 21-16.
Oakland’s Alex VanSenus was perfect on all three extra points on the evening.
Then disaster, as Gallatin struck on a pass play from 40 yards out on the last play of the half and took a 28-16 lead to the locker room.
The second half was almost all Oakland.
The Pats controlled everything by scoring on a 3-yard run by quaterback Jahaad Lyons and on an 80-yard run by Emmanuel Swader with only 2:47 left.
Gallatin, now trailing for the first time, went on a 60-yard march for the winning 37 yard FG with less than a second left.
Gallatin did most of the damage by passing for 200 yards but could only run for 70.
Oakland meanwhile passed for only 60 yards, most of it by Lyons but the rushing game was excellent as the Pats ran for more than 350 yards led by Emmanuel Smith (110 yards), Devonte Swader (90 yards) and Andre Chesterfield racked up 75 more.
The Pats deserve some credit for coming back after the half and for giving up only three points in the second half.
Justin Barrett, Edwin Locklayer, Emmanuel Smith, Cliff Thompson and Austin Barrett led the defense but they were joined by a swarming second half defense that featured 20 Patriots getting in on defensive plays.
This loss, while it hurts, is not that damaging.
It was not within the district and will likely not drop Oakland from the top state’s top 10.
This week is a little different as Oakland visits Blackman in one of the state’s biggest games.