• John Macon Gillespie

Oxford Remains King of the North

From the time the ball was kicked off on Bobby Holcomb field on Friday night, there was no doubt who would represent 5A North next weekend in Vaught-Hemingway stadium. The Oxford Chargers had been the last two seasons and surely Jack Abraham and DK Metcalf would get another shot to finally claim a title for themselves. They’ll get their shot as they defeated West Point for the second time this season Friday night, this time 35-7.

There were many positives to take from the game for the Chargers. As usual Jack Abraham was solid. He threw three touchdown passes, two to Ken Presley and another to Metcalf. Another positive was the Oxford defense. Korbin Harmon and Jack Turner led the charge against the run-oriented Green Wave offense. Finally, Hiram Waddlington was able to take over in second half. Early on in the third quarter he helped lead them down to score, then he was able to come through with key runs down the stretch to ice it. That included another scoring run.

Not only does this win give the Oxford seniors, who will be playing in their third straight 5A state championship game, another chance to finally taste victory in that game, but it also give coach Johnny Hill a chance to ride off into the sunset on top.

A win next weekend inside Vaught-Hemingway would be the most appropriate way for Hill to leave his post. For the program he’s built at Oxford, he won’t be forgotten. However, it would be a real credit to all his hard work if he were able to win his final game, a state championship game. That is truly how he deserves to go out. But don’t feel for one minute that the Wayne County War Eagles share those sentiments as it pertains to that game and Hill’s legacy. They would themselves love to claim that precious trophy.

Speaking of Wayne County, they defeated Oxford for the 4A state championship back in 2003. The War Eagles won the same crown again in 2006 after they had won the 5A crown in 2002. However, they haven’t played in a state championship game since 2009 when they lost. Benito Jones and that defense are hungry no doubt, to get their shot at Jack Abraham and the Charger offense.

Final observations:

The West Point offense was able to move the ball in splotches at times, but the Oxford defense never let them get in rhythm and they simply did not allow any explosion plays. Korbin Harmon set the tone up front, Jack Turner plugged holes and DQ Thomas covered the back end and played well in the box.

Hiram Waddlington has added an element that Oxford has really needed at times since he took over earlier in the season. Tonight, Jack Abraham was completing passes but the West Point front seven was getting after him and bothering the rhythm of the passing game. Enter Waddlington and some impressive running and what do you know? The passing lanes presented themselves and the pass rush stayed back. Waddlington got a really nice run to seal it in the second half where he was not going to go down. He was big in the icing of this game.

Lastly, the Oxford receivers may just be too much to stop. Last week it was Metcalf torching the Mavericks of Germantown. This week the defense keys on him and it opens it up for Ken Presley to have a big night. Waddlington, Greaser and Cousar also proved to be go-to guys.

One note on West Point is that Scott Lashley was dominant. He routinely pancaked the man in front of him to the ground. Most plays were run his direction and for good reason. Oxford schemed Harmon away from Lashley most of the night. He did his job, for sure. He will be a good pickup for some SEC school.

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