Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes and Maryville versus Oakland on Black Friday.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Maryville Rebels and Oakland Patriots battled for a spot in BlueCross Bowl championship, and the Patriots left no doubt that they deserved the bid with a 49-7 beatdown at home Friday night.
Oakland will face Brentwood next Saturday, Dec. 5 for the Class 6A title in Cookeville.
“It is good to get a little redemption after being shut out (12-0) in last year's semifinal,” Oakland coach Kevin Creasy said. “It has been a long time for our guys to chew on that, and it is really nice to get the win.”
Oakland had its way offensively, rushing for 336 yards. Junior running back Jordan James ran for a game-high 160 yards on 27 carries for two scores. Antonio Patterson rushed for another 103 yards and three touchdowns.
“This was one of the best games we have ever played (as an offense). We pushed it down their throats," Patterson said. "We could run the ball and throw it down the field. Coach Creasy made the right play call when we needed it, and the offensive line makes life for (me and James) so easy.”
James blew the doors open immediately, returning the opening kick 35 yards before rushing for another 35 yards on the drive and capping it with his first score.
Maryville’s brightest moment came on Oakland’s next possession with a goal-line stand to force a turnover on downs. Delaying the inevitable, the Rebels punted away to Oakland, setting up short field for Patterson to score his first of two first-half touchdowns.
The Patriots led 21-0 at the break behind a dynamic, in Creasy’s words, “one-two punch.”
“They are both running backs but different types of running backs," he said. "They make it tough for teams to scheme against them because they complement one another so well.”
Maryville entered Oakland territory to open the second half, but much like the first, would stall due to the Patriots suffocating front seven.
No one knows the difficulty of scoring on the Patriots defense more than the running backs that must practice against them all season long.
“They have high football IQ," Patterson said. "They always know where the ball is going, do a great job of getting to the ball and making tackles."
Oakland scored on all four second-half drives, starting with a touchdown apiece for James and Patterson. The Patriots forced a fumble and recovered on a kickoff return adding to their special teams' special night. The turnover led to a Khalil James touchdown and a 42-0 lead at 7:42 of the fourth quarter.
Maryville would score on a 76-yard rushing touchdown by Parker McGill, who gained a bulk of his total of 143 yards on the long run.
Oakland concluded its scoring on sophomore Jahari Newman’s 15-yard rushing touchdown.
“We have a lot of respect for Maryville’s program and we emulate a lot things that they do," Creasy said. "They are a tough team to beat at their place and we like to be just as tough here."
Oakland defeated Brentwood 37-0 earlier in the regular season in a game that was scheduled late because each other's opponents couldn't play due to COVID-19 issues.
“Neither team had much preparation or practice because of the short week," Creasy said. "Anything that happened in that game you can throw it out the window.”