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  • John Macon Gillespie

Games That Left Their Mark | The Charger Chapters



If you don’t know me personally, I am an Oxford native, a track athlete, a sports editor, and the biggest fan of Oxford Charger football. It all started when my oldest brother, Jonathan, joined the varsity football squad in his sophomore year in 2008. Prior to that, I really didn't know all that much about football, let alone watched it.

I remember the 2008 opener like it was yesterday, not really the game itself, but just the atmosphere. Something about being at Bobby Holcomb Field, smelling the burgers cook on the grill, being under the lights, sitting with family, listening to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins in pregame over the PA, eating Reese's, and listening to the band play made me have an instant love for watching the Chargers on Friday nights.

In my nine years of watching the Chargers play, I’ve missed a total of four games from 2008-2016. In games that I’ve witnessed, my record is 81-32. Of the 81 games I’ve watched the Chargers win, six of those really stuck out to me. Here is one of those wins that I will remember for a while.

Oxford at West Point 2014

There was no hiding this time how good Oxford was. The Chargers entered the season with a massive target on their back, being ranked No.1 in the state preseason according the Clarion-Ledger’s super 10 rankings. West Point was also ready to take control of the region early in the opener. The Green Wave wanted revenge against Oxford after what happened the previous season with a 30-20 loss to the Chargers. I can remember West Point running out of the blow-up tunnel and thinking to myself “This should be fun”.

Oxford was able to reach West Point’s red zone early but would go in reverse with numerous penalties. The Chargers were faced with 3rd and 30 on the 31-yard line. Johnny Hill, being Johnny Hill, pulled another rabbit out of the hat and decided to go with the hook-and-later play. Sure enough, Kenzie Phillips took the lateral and scored for a 31 yard score. A fake PAT made the score 8-0 Oxford. Everything was pretty much going Oxford’s way until the Chargers started turning the ball over. Abraham’s first INT resulted in a Quincy Starks 72 yard touchdown run right up the gut to make the score 8-8 with a two point conversion.

Abraham rolled out of the pocket and threw the ball right to Lavarius Gunn for a pick six to give the Green Wave their first lead of the night 15-8. Abraham threw yet another INT on the next possession and Kadarius Forside punched in a touchdown. Just like that, West Point had a 22-8 lead with only a few minutes left in the first half. It seemed like the wheels were falling off for Oxford at that point, and then came the turning point of the whole game.

Oxford was determined to put points on the board before halftime. Abraham threw a pass who I believe was to Zach Cousar to the sidelines and then things started to get a bit chippy. West Point and Oxford were chirping back and forth and a flag was drawn from the official who called two flags both on the Green Wave. That gave Oxford a bit of momentum and fired them up big time. Abraham found Cousar on a double move for a 35 yard score right before halftime. West Point led 22-15 at the half, but Oxford had the momentum.

The Chargers came out of the locker room with fire in their eyes. Abraham found D.K. Metcalf for a TD on the opening possession of the 3rd quarter to tie the game at 22. Hill once again did another trick, a surprise onside kick. The Chargers recovered and never looked back from that point on. Oxford scored 35 unanswered points after trailing 22-8 to win the game 43-22. The Charger defense gave up NINE yards in the second half while the offense scored 28 points. The reason why this game is significant to me is because once again, we beat perennial power West Point, and because of the way they did it. Even I was stunned. I’ve never heard Hamblin Stadium that silent before. It was simply amazing. The Chargers scored 35 unanswered points in the win.

**This is the fourth of a six part series.

Follow Jared on Twitter @TheJaredRedding

#JaredRedding #Oxford #ChargerChapters

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