Coverage Recap: Oxford 34 | Grenada 16
The playoffs have begun for 5A! For both teams, it was win or go home. The Oxford and Grenada Chargers met each other for the first time since 2012 to see who would keep their season another week. At the end of the night, Oxford will go home… to play another game next week against the West Point Green Wave.
The Oxford Chargers went on the road to defeat Grenada 34-16 in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs. Oxford cemented the clean sweep of Region 1-5A in the playoffs. It was a hard fought and competitive game, particularly in the first half.
The game began with a helicopter with an American Flag design literally descending on the field to deliver the game ball and leaving. It was a sight to see. Oxford received the ball to start the game, but wouldn't get really far, punting on their first offensive possession.
Grenada, a primarily run based offense, got cranked up immediately in the passing game. C.J. Avery threw a gorgeous 58 yard touchdown pass to Kevarius Brown to draw first blood in the contest with 5:17 left in the first quarter. The score was 7-0 Grenada. On Oxford’s next offensive possession, when they got started moving the chains, they had their foot on the gas pedal. Oxford was going so uptemo, Grenada could hardly get set on defense. An electrifying Oxford drive was capped off with a nine yard touchdown run by Hiram Wadlington, tying the game seven all. Then, Avery tried to sting Oxford deep, but his pass was intercepted by DeDe Pegues. Oxford drove to take the lead, but would stall in the red zone.
McClure threw a fade route to Barry Flowers, but the pass was picked off in the end zone by Christian Cain. A little bit later, head coach Chris Cutcliffe pulled a rabbit out of the hat when Oxford reached the red zone again. McClure handed the ball off on the edge to junior C.J. Terrell, a starter at safety for Oxford and a former freshman team QB. Terrell then used his quarterbacking skills from his freshman year and threw the ball back to the quarterback McClure for an 18 yard Oxford touchdown. Oxford grabbed all the momentum, the score was 14-7 Oxford with 4:23 in the second quarter.
Cutcliffe pulled off another trick, an onside kick in which Oxford recovered. Oxford effortlessly made it to the red zone again and cashed in the onside kick for a 15 yard touchdown pass from McClure to Preston Perkins. In the blink of an eye, The Oxford Chargers were up by two scores, up 21-7 with under three minutes left until halftime. Grenada was determined to score points before the half with little time to work with.
A few big, powerful runs by Deon House led to a touchdown pass to a wide open Will Baker. The PAT was blocked but Grenada took a little bit of Oxford’s momentum back. The score was 21-13 heading into the break.
Grenada got to receive the ball to start the second half of play, they didn't waste much time getting cranked up offensively. House found some big holes and took Grenada to Oxford’s 10 yard line. Grenada would then have to settle for a 27 yard field goal by Chaz Trost. Trust cut the lead to 21-16 with 8:07 in the third quarter. If the field goal for Grenada was a crack in the door, Hiram Wadlington slammed it shut mid way through the third quarter. Oxford was faced with a 4th and 1 at midfield and they decided to go for the first down. Wadlington found a wide open hole created by freshman standout J.J. Pegues and raced 45 yards for a touchdown. The score was 27-16 Oxford. Oxford would contain Avery and House the rest of the game on defense. Lance Stewart put the final nail in the coffin with a touchdown by Lance Stewart under three minutes left in the game.
Oxford will host the No.1 seed West Point Green Wave next week at Bobby Holcomb Field. The Green Wave won the regular season meeting this season 22-8. Oxford has faced off against West Point the last two seasons in the playoffs, winning 42-14 in 2014 and 35-7 in 2015.
Players of the Game:
Oxford- Hiram Wadlington
Grenada- C.J. Avery