By Scott Warden
EL DORADO HILLS — Host Oak Ridge and Vacaville stood toe-to-toe with each other on the way to a 14-14 deadlock at the halftime of Friday’s nonleague encounter.
That changed in the second half as the Trojans took control and overpowered the Bulldogs for the 28-14 victory.
“The entire staff is extremely proud of these guys. The effort tonight in all phases of the game was outstanding. Our punt return team had three blocked kicks and that really set up our offense,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavalier said. “The defense got better as the game progressed and really shut down their running game.”
Troy established early momentum on their first drive of game, aided by a fumbled punt that Victor Bunce pounced on at the 5 yard line. Oak Ridge wasted little time capitalizing as Ian Book scrambled 5 yards and dove into the end zone. The touchdown and the extra point by Adam Walter gave Oak Ridge a 7-0 advantage but ended the night for Book as the quarterback took a hard hit on the scoring play and had to leave the game.
The Trojans turned to Jacob Sipes who effectively stepped in and moved the offense on the strength of a punishing offense line that paved the way for Tanner Hughes to rush for 102 yards.
“Our team just continued to grind for the entire game. We are excited about being 5-0 and know that now we need to work harder,” Hughes said.
After Oak Ridge took the 7-0 lead, Vacaville answered with a touchdown-scoring drive midway through the second quarter. The Trojans quickly responded by marching 73 yards and finishing the drive on a 6-yard scoring strike from Sipes to Trent Buenzli. Walter’s PAT allowed Troy to reclaim a 14-7 advantage.
Late in the half the Bulldogs turned an Oak Ridge miscue into a touchdown and tied the game at 14-all at the halftime break.
The Trojans dominated Vacaville and took control in the second half as momentum shifted to Oak Ridge when Colton Giorgi blocked a Vacaville punt and the Trojans took over at the Bulldog 17-yard line. After two plays, Sipes found the end zone on a 6-yard run as Oak Ridge went ahead 21-14.
“Everyone really stepped up tonight and played well in all aspects of the game. Our coaches really had us ready for tonight and continued to remind us that the game tonight was our most important game,” Giorgi commented after the game.
Once the Trojans took the third quarter lead their defense completely stifled the Bulldogs’ offensive attack. The result was another blocked punt, this time by Max Braddock to give Oak Ridge possession at the Vacaville 19-yard line. Sipes again found the end zone on a 17 yard run to add insurance as the Trojans secured the win.