By Tyler Schmidt
Mother Lode News correspondent
STOCKTON — In what became one of the craziest games of the year, the Oak Ridge High Trojans and host Lincoln-Stockton Trojans endured a power outage, two days of play, a major comeback and a last minute game-winning drive. Lincoln-Stockton came out victorious in the see-saw Sac-Joaquin Section Division I battle 37-35 to put an end to Oak Ridge’s football season.
The go-ahead points came after Troy had rallied from a 31-14 deficit Saturday. With just over two minutes left and one timeout, Lincoln drove down the field and scored the winning touchdown on Zack Greenlee’s 6-yard slant pass to Brandin Cooks with 25 seconds left. The score left Oak Ridge little it could do as the clock expired.
Oak Ridge trailed 24-14 at halftime Friday when the field lights and scoreboard went out, leaving the stadium in complete darkness. After a 20 minute wait, word came that the game had been postponed and rescheduled for the next afternoon.
“With the game getting postponed like it did, it was definitely strange. It is just something you need to roll with, and I think it definitely helped us out. I’m really proud of my coaches — we all went home that night, looked at the first half game film, and got our players in early to re-strategize. It turned out to be a good thing for us, helped us regain momentum after a slow start in the first half,” Trojan coach Eric Cavaliere said.
Oak Ridge had the ball first Saturday to open the second half and came out with a great return by Dylan Collie. But Oak Ridge soon fumbled and Cooks hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass as Lincoln-Stockton further increased its lead.
Down but not out, Oak Ridge made its comeback. Quarterback Will Tostenson found Collie in the back right of the end zone for a touchdown to make it to a two-possession game and on the ensuing Lincoln-Stockton drive, Oak Ridge’s Travis Daly sacked the quarterback for a safety. Oak Ridge received the ball and went on a successful drive, capped off by a Ryan Adams’ 2-yard run and though the two point conversion was unsuccessful, it was now 31-29 and anyone’s game.
Lincoln-Stockton took over but a big penalty forced it to punt and Oak Ridge scored again on another Adams’ touchdown run for a 35-31 advantage. After an exchange of punts, Lincoln-Stockton drove from its own 5 yard line to win it.
“In the locker room I just told my team that I was proud of them. I was proud of their fight, we were down 17 to a great team, and it took great resilience for my players to fight back into the game. I also just reminded them of all the great times and things we have done, reminded them of how great a season we had. Lastly, I just thanked them for both their fight and their efforts throughout the season,” Cavaliere said.
Lincoln-Stockton had the ball first Friday and wasted little time putting points on the board as Cooks caught a 55 yard touchdown pass. Oak Ridge answered as Tostenson found Will Tucker who caught it with one man to beat and burned his defender all the way to the end zone for an 80-yard catch-and-run. The hosts added a field goal and two Lincoln-Stockton touchdowns while Collie caught a touchdown to make it a 10-point game at the break.
Tostenson racked up over 300 yards in the air while Tucker and Collie both grabbed over 100 yards in receptions. Oak Ridge ends its season at 7-4.