Football playoffs: Another big offensive night lifts Oxford
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Nov 09, 2013 | 3171 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford's Racean Thomas scored three touchdowns against Tuscaloosa County. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Oxford's Racean Thomas scored three touchdowns against Tuscaloosa County. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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OXFORD — With the way Oxford is scoring points lately, opposing teams can’t afford to give away much to the Yellow Jackets.

Visiting Tuscaloosa County found out the hard way as Oxford turned in another big offensive day in a 50-22 win in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Oxford managed at least 50 points for the third time in five games and at least 41 points for the fifth time in six games.

After Tuscaloosa County scored on the opening drive for a 7-0 lead, Oxford managed four touchdowns on four drives for a 28-7 lead — helped along by an interception and Tuscaloosa County’s failed fake punt and missed field goal.

“Anytime you score it builds momentum, but to do it four drives in a row, you could just sense momentum falling our way,” Oxford coach Ryan Herring said. “Our offense the last three weeks has been amazing.”

The Yellow Jackets (9-2) now will face Bob Jones on the road in the second round.

Oxford’s Racean Thomas finished with 186 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Ty Webber threw for 137 yards and a score. Tredarrian Gamble had three receptions for 58 yards.

After Tuscaloosa County’s initial touchdown, Thomas Rudolph returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to midfield, Thomas scored on a 38-yard touchdown three plays later.

An interception by Tae Davis on Tuscaloosa County’s ensuing drive gave Oxford the ball at the Wildcats’ 9-yard line following a 40-yard return. Webber hit Desmon Owens for a 20-yard touchdown four plays later to give Oxford the 14-7 lead. Tuscaloosa County (7-4) then turned over the ball on downs after faking a punt, giving Oxford the ball on the Wildcats’ 39.

Webber punched it in on a quarterback sneak to end the drive.

Tuscaloosa County missed a field goal on its ensuing drive and Oxford’s rhythm continued. Oxford traveled 80 yards down the field for its fourth consecutive score, this time from Thomas running it in from 8-yards out.

While the offense clearly shined, taking a 28-7 lead into halftime and only punting twice in the first half, Herring said it was the interception by Davis that really cranked the momentum in Oxford’s favor.

“I’ve always believed and preached that interceptions are huge and the biggest way to take momentum from someone else,” Herring said. “You saw what happened, all of a sudden it’s 28-7.”

Halftime didn’t show Oxford’s momentum down a bit.

On the second play of the second half, Devin Siplin recovered a fumble and returned it 32 yards for an Oxford score. After Franks hit Chase Pearson for a 5-yard Tuscaloosa County touchdown on its next drive, Thomas scored five plays later for the Yellow Jackets on a 35-yard run to give Oxford a 41-15 lead.

“Whenever the defense scores a touchdown it gets us hyped to go out there and try to put more touchdowns on the board,” Thomas said.

Thomas’ third touchdown was the offense’s final score of the night, but Oxford’s defense wasn’t done.

Derek Mahaffey recovered a fumble deep in Oxford territory early in the fourth quarter and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown to give the Yellow Jackets a 48-22 lead. Oxford’s final score came when it recorded a safety on Tuscaloosa County’s ensuing drive.

“We were a little overmatched,” Tuscaloosa County coach Lee Gibson said. “That’s a very good football team we lost to and they could go a long way.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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