Oakland's Middle School Chargers took down defending county champions Christiana Cougars 8-6 in the opening week of Rutherford County Middle School action.
A two-point conversion was the difference in a defensive battle that saw just 200 yards of offense combined by the two teams.
“It speaks for the kids we have," Oakland Middle Head Coach Scott Thomas said. “Nobody is talking about Oakland, and a win like this is big for our kids.”
Christiana threatened on its first drive reaching the red zone, but an Eric Taylor interception at the goal line flipped the field for the Chargers. Christiana later forced a three-and-out before Deuce Hewitt blocked the ensuing punt, but the Cougars were unable to reach pay dirt as the half finished tied at 0-0.
Oakland’s offense started clicking after Max Lovinski connected with Eric Taylor in Christiana territory on third down. Thomas called Taylor’s number again with a 12-yard rushing touchdown and 2-point conversion to cap off the eight minute drive.
“We made some adjustments on the line and I have to give credit to that offensive line,” Thomas said. “Coach (Tyler) Eady does a great job with the big boys and their effort got us the win.”
Eighth-grader Taylor totaled 39 yards on six carries and added 16 yards receiving on the night.
“After being an undersized kid last year, he has grown a lot going into this year," Thomas aid. "His abilities on the field is a big key to our success as a team.”
Kade Hewitt completed a 39-yard pass to Eric Turner on a trick play for Christiana to enter Oakland territory inside three minutes to play. Moments later, younger brother Deuce Hewitt scored on a 15-yard touchdown to pull within two. Christiana, trailing 8-6, attempted a tying 2-point conversion that was stuffed at the line by Korey Smith.
Smith, Hunter Greer and Evan Harris totaled four tackles apiece for the Chargers defense that held Christiana to just 128 yards of offense.
Oakland gave the ball back to Christiana following a three-and-out with 1:15 left. Quincy Jackson sealed the game two plays later with an interception to finish off Christiana.
“We feel accomplished winning a game like this,” Taylor said. “We do not get enough respect and to win (against the defending champions) is big.”
Hewitt rushed for 51 yards for the Cougars and totaled six tackles on defense.
Oakland plays Rockvale at Eagleville High School next Tuesday night, while Christiana will host Stewarts Creek at Riverdale High School.