Oakland closes out preseason unblemished

Oakland running back Victor Stevenson looks for yardage against Gallatin. DON MCPEAK

GALLATIN -- The mighty Oakland Patriots took to the road for their final preseason tune up Friday night, trying to polish up any blemishes on a seemingly impressive preseason.

Traveling to the Wave Yard, the Patriots walked away 14-7 victors over Class 5A Gallatin.

Up until Friday no offense had been able to score on the Patriots defense, but the Wave’s first team offense marched down the field with an impressive 13-play, 70-yard touchdown drive on their first and only series of the game.

“We wanted to come out and do what we are good at and that is run the football and be physical up front,” Gallatin head coach Chad Watson said.

Highlighting the touchdown drive was senior running back Spencer Briggs, who had four touches for 45 yards, including a 32-yard screen catch-and-run to the Oakland 8-yard line.

James Mason capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to give Gallatin a 6-0 lead early. Place kicker Trace Kelley nailed his only extra-point attempt of the game for the 7-0 advantage.

“I wanted to see the mentality to line up and compete against an elite program like Oakland,” Watson said of his team’s first drive. “When you look at middle Tennessee the first football program people talk about is Oakland. I’ve known Kevin [Creasy] a long time and everything they do is first class and we are trying to get to where we can compete against team’s like that.”

The defending 6A champions responded, and responded quickly on their opening drive of the game.

Tim Pannell and Victor Stephenson got the bulk of the carries as the two backs drove Oakland 70 yards on seven plays, which was capped on a Pannell 25-yard touchdown run.

Michael Turks tied the game at seven on the extra-point.

Oakland took the lead for good on its next series on a 25-yard touchdown run from Stephenson with seven minutes remaining in the game.

“We wanted to polish some things up tonight,” Patriot head coach Kevin Creasy said. “We are definitely not in midseason form and still have changes that need to be made. That said, we realize the most important thing for us tonight was to come out and compete and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.

Creasy and his Patriots are looking for another gold ball to bring back home to Murfreesboro and says if his team can stay hungry and humble through the 2019 journey they can give themselves a real shot at doing so.

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