Oxford's Thomas dazzles homecoming crowd
by Jared Gravette
Oct 11, 2013 | 2534 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford’s Thomas Rudolph chases down Grissom’s Jaylin King. (Photo by Shannon Tucker/The Anniston Star)
Oxford’s Thomas Rudolph chases down Grissom’s Jaylin King. (Photo by Shannon Tucker/The Anniston Star)
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OXFORD — Racean Thomas showed exactly why he’s one of the most highly coveted running back recruits in the country Friday night.

The Auburn commitment dazzled the homecoming crowd with 177 rushing yards on 14 carries, leading Oxford to a 51-12 victory over winless Grissom.

Using his superior speed and agility, Thomas made it look easy against an overmatched Grissom defense, scoring on runs of 16, 24, 12 and 55 yards.

“Some of them made it look like he was playing with a youth league team,” said Oxford coach Ryan Herring, whose team is 5-2. “He just had a lot more speed and talent than what he was out there up against.”

The Yellow Jackets opened the game with a heavy dose of Thomas. After picking up 14 yards on Oxford’s first two plays from scrimmage, the senior made a jaw-dropping run that let the Tigers know they were in for a long night.

Thomas received the ball on a toss sweep and headed right. With not a lot of room to run, he reversed direction and headed towards the left sideline. After picking up a couple yards, he cut back to the middle, making several defenders miss on the way to a 16-yard score that put Oxford up by 7 after the first of seven successful extra points from Cooper Lewis.

Thomas would score twice more before halftime. He opened the third quarter with his last and longest run of the game, a 55-yard touchdown scamper that gave the Yellow Jackets a commanding 38-point lead.

“We wanted to come out and run the ball,” Herring said. “We always want to be able to run the ball and always want to be able to stop the run.”

The Yellow Jackets were very stingy on defense in the first half, constantly setting the offense up with good field position. Oxford started on Grissom’s side of the field on five of its first six drives and held the Tigers to 69 total yards in the first half, including minus-21 rushing.

Octavious Davis returned an interception for a touchdown in the second half, and the Yellow Jackets picked up a safety on special teams when Grissom punter Sam Myers dropped to one knee to field a low snap in the end zone.

The Yellow Jackets had one blemish on defense in the first half.

Grissom quarterback Christian Grospitch hit receiver Erik Williams on a long pass. Williams broke away from his defender and scored from 83 yards out.

“We had a couple of negatives,” Herring said. “Letting them score on that deep ball. We should have had a sack and then we should have had an interception, but we didn’t have either, and they had six points.”

When Thomas wasn’t picking up yards on the ground, Oxford was just as successful through the air. Quarterback Ty Webber threw two touchdown passes in the first half.

The first came on a play-action pass, as Webber faked a handoff to Thomas and found Jake Cook behind the defense for a 32-yard score.

Tredarian Gamble caught Webber’s second touchdown pass, going up and grabbing a jump ball at the 1-yard line and extending it over the pylon for a 25-yard score.

Grissom’s final score came early in the fourth quarter, as Myers carried the ball in from 1 yard out.
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