Oakland Middle kicks off to Christiana Middle in the first game of the season held Aug. 14, 2013, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/B. Mailley)
Is there a better way to begin the 2013 middle school football season than a rematch of last year’s title game between Oakland and Christiana?
Coming into the game, both teams were fired up for many reasons: Christiana Middle School wanted payback because its only two losses last season were to the Chargers. Oakland Middle School wanted to prove last season’s championship and undefeated season was no fluke.
On a picture, perfect evening, a huge crowd showed up to Oakland High School for the matchup. Although it is only week one, both teams showed they could be a contender for the county title this season, even though first-game jitters affected both teams early on.
Each team traded turnovers in the first quarter, and Oakland Middle blocked a punt. It was scoreless after one quarter, but the Chargers took over and pulled away in the second stanza.
Oakland Middle took advantage of two Cougar turnovers by turning them into 22 points, including touchdown runs by DeAndre Litaker and Dyconte McCormick. Charger quarterback Troy Hudson completed a long touchdown pass to Carson Key late in the quarter to put them up 22-0 at the half.
During halftime, Christiana Middle head coach Chris George must have given the Cougars a spirited pep talk because they came out the second half ready to go.
Both defenses played hard in the final two quarters and held each other scoreless. In the end George said he knew the Cougars made too many early mistakes to recover in the second half.
“We know we made a lot of mistakes tonight,” he said. “We turned the ball over three times. They made plays, and we did not. We tell our guys they got to show up and give maximum effort.”
Regardless, the Cougars should be proud of the way they fought till the end and held the Chargers scoreless in the second half.
The good news is it was only the first game of the season, and their goal of advancing to a title game is still intact. There is lot of football left to be played this season.
As for the defending champions, the Chargers were happy to start off the season with a win, but they also know they still have a lot of work to do if they want to repeat in 2013.
Head coach Colin Wells said he was really pleased with the way on how the defense pitched the Aug. 14 shutout.
“I just think we played a lot better than I thought we would,” he said. “We pass defended well, and we did not give up any big plays. Causing turnovers, that’s golden on defense.”
One of the top defensive starts for the Chargers in the win was Donovon Crisp, who recovered one of the fumbles which led to a score.
“Everyone played good all-around,” Crisp said. “We flew to the ball and made plays.”
Hudson said he was also excited with their performance, especially getting a big win to start the season.
“It was pretty big, especially since last season we won it,” he said.
What makes middle school football so much fun to watch is the old clique, “Anything can happen at anytime.”
Another thing about middle school football is the window of success. Each team only has these players for a few years before a new batch of eager youngsters take their place.
However, these factors also prove why this level of football is so much fun to watch.