For the first half of an important Delta River League match-up Friday, host Oak Ridge went toe-to-toe with Pleasant Grove and stood strong against the top-ranked Eagles — trailing just 14-7 at the halftime break.
As close as the Trojans were after two quarters, the contest completely changed gears in the third as Pleasant Grove’s vaunted rushing attack asserted its dominance. Unable to match, Oak Ridge suffered a 49-14 Senior Night defeat.
“Our team played hard tonight and gave everything that we’ve got. We believe that we can compete against Pleasant Grove and really just made some mistakes that cost us. What we will do now is look to improve and make the playoffs,” an exhausted Preston Dean said after the game.
Troy kept the game close in the early going. With the Trojan offensive line of Blake Mize, Cody Frakes, Hekoti Chapman, Tuita Chapman and Xavier Lopez opening holes for Shay Mueller, Dean, Dylan Collie, Ryan Adair and Jake Rosada, Oak Ridge accumulated 197 rushing yards on 52 carries.
After Pleasant Grove took a 7-0 lead, the Trojans turned a fumble recovery by Dean into points as Oak Ridge methodically moved the ball down to the Eagles’ 2-yard line where Adair powered through the middle of the line and into the end zone. With the extra point by Jon David Smith, the home town team from El Dorado Hills knotted the game at 7-7 toward the end of the first quarter.
Over the course of the second 12 minutes, Oak Ridge’s defense of James Boisd’enghien, Kareem Baleel, Roman Andrus, Jacob Proul and a host of other Trojans held Pleasant Grove out of the end zone until late in the second quarter when the Eagles found the land of quick six for a 14-7 advantage going into halftime.
The visitors extended to 21-7 early in the third quarter but Oak Ridge showed tremendous resiliency as Collie hit Byron Spain on a 50-yard pass play that put Troy at the door step of the Pleasant Grove goal line. From there, Collie went straight up the middle on a 2-yard quarterback sneak and Smith’s extra point narrowed the gap to 21-14.
Pleasant Grove then took it up a notch and unleashed its running attack to score three touchdowns in the span of nine minutes to take a 42-14 lead and put the game out of reach for Oak Ridge. Though the Trojans continued to battle till the end, the Eagles’ quick barrage of points proved too much for Oak Ridge to overcome.
Dean gained 72 yards on 17 carries for the Trojans; Rosada picked up 49 yards on eight rushes; Collie ran 10 times for 31 yards.
Oak Ridge returns to the gridiron Saturday with an afternoon game at Jesuit.
Stats courtesy of Haley Anderson