MURFREESBORO – Korey Smith spent most of Thursday night’s game against CPA on the sideline.
Oakland opted to utilize bigger linemen to try to slow CPA’s run-heavy attack, but Smith’s speed was needed for the final play.
The sophomore edge rusher was ready when his moment arrived.
Smith came off the right side of the line completely unblocked and sacked CPA quarterback Cade Law at the 9-yard line as time expired to preserve Oakland’s 27-24 win at Ray Hughes Stadium.
“We don’t let adversity faze us,” Smith said. “I knew I had to come in and make the tackle.”
It was the second time in three weeks the Oakland defense delivered a goal-line stand in the final seconds. Eric Taylor made the game-ending tackle in a 29-21 victory over Lipscomb Academy on Sept. 23.
Oakland coach Kevin Creasy trusts his defense to play its best when the stakes are high.
“The defense sold out right there and did a great job of leaving it all out on the field,” Creasy said. “Even if (CPA) would’ve scored right there at the end, we know we would’ve had 11 guys busting their tails, giving it their all and playing for each other.”
The last play wasn’t the only parallel to the Lipscomb Academy game. Running back Antonio Patterson, who provided the two-point conversion that lifted the Patriots over the Mustangs, scored the game-winning touchdown against CPA on a 6-yard run with 1:36 remaining.
“It was like déjà vu from the Lipscomb game,” Patterson said. “This win means a lot.”
Patterson and Georgia commitment Jordan James took turns slashing the CPA defense with short, intermediate and long runs. Oakland’s variation of the Wing-T offense was on full display, particularly in the second half when the Patriots sustained three consecutive scoring drives.
“It’s confusing for the defense,” Patterson said. “We’ve got a motion here, a motion there – they don’t know what’s coming.”
Patterson finished with 14 carries for 137 yards and two scores, while James added 22 attempts for 147 yards. Oakland averaged nearly eight yards per carry as a team.
“It made it tough (for CPA),” Creasy said. “We were hitting the inside, outside and the counter (run) game really well. And whenever we did throw a pass, there was somebody wide open.”
Ironically, it was the Lions (7-1) who controlled the run game in the first half. CPA built a 17-10 lead at the break by rushing for 172 yards on 29 carries, including a pair of touchdown runs from senior Vanderbilt commitment Langston Patterson.
“They took it to us doing what we often do to other people,” Creasy said.
Law’s 6-yard scoring run with 7:21 to play gave CPA a 24-20 lead, but Oakland managed to land the last punch in the battle between defending state champions from different classifications.
“Our kids gave everything they had,” CPA coach Ingle Martin said. “That’s what we asked them to do, so there’s nothing for us to be disappointed about.”
Langston Patterson, who totaled 160 yards on 25 attempts, finished as the game’s leading rusher. Law threw for 170 yards and a costly interception that led directly to Oakland’s first touchdown – a 1-yard run from Kade Hewitt in the first quarter.
Oakland (7-0) players still believe there is room for improvement before next Friday’s Battle of the 'Boro with rival Riverdale (7-0). The winner will clinch a home playoff game and earn the inside track to the Region 4-6A title.
“Coach Creasy isn’t pleased, and we’re not pleased,” Smith said. “We know we’ve still got to get better in practice. We’ll be happy for today, but tomorrow, it’s back to work.”
Oakland 27, CPA 24
C 7 10 0 7 – 24
O 7 3 10 7 – 27
O – Kade Hewitt 1 run (8:52), Avory Rogers kick
C – Langston Patterson 6 run (6:11), Ryan Rinker kick
C – Patterson 7 run (11:42), Rinker kick
C – Rinker 36 field goal (1:54)
O – Rogers 41 field goal (0:23)
O – Antonio Patterson 27 run (9:38), Rogers kick
O – Rogers 25 field goal (2:15)
C – Cade Law 6 run (7:21), Rinker kick
O – Patterson 6 run (1:36), Rogers kick