Looking to polish off a landmark 9-1 season, Oak Ridge did just that Friday, exhausting visiting Jesuit 28-14 behind power running and a quick-strike passing attack.
The Trojans’ Senior Night and Homecoming victory clinched a home playoff game next week while eliminating the Marauders from the postseason picture.
“We knew that they were going to come and play tough for all four quarters tonight, but our defense really played well, and our offense capitalized,” Troy coach Eric Cavaliere said.
Facing the versatile capability of Jesuit’s Thomas Sperbeck, Oak Ridge got off to a rocky start as Sperbeck took off on a 40-plus yard touchdown run to put the Oak Ridge in an early 7-0 hole. But less than a minute later, Blake Martin found a hole and scampered untouched 53 yards to tie the score.
The Trojans scored the only points of the second quarter as Josh Wellman dove into the end zone from 1 yard out to culminate a 73-yard drive. Oak Ridge had another opportunity to score late in the quarter but a fumble ended the drive as Troy entered the half up 14-7.
At halftime, Oak Ridge cornerback Chad Augood and Sydney Newman were crowned Homecoming 2012 King and Queen.
Troy drove 80 yards to open the third quarter on a drive that ended in a 20-yard scoring pass from Jason Samuels to a leaping Byron Spain. On the night, Samuels went 17-23 and threw for 241 yards, 133 of those to Spain.
Jesuit subsequently drove down to the Oak Ridge 22 only to see Sperbeck intercepted by Colton Giorgi.
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans added on to their lead with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Samuels to Spain, one of eight receptions and two touchdowns for Spain who played through an ankle injury. Jesuit scored late with a Jason Elenberger 61-yard fumble recovery but it was too little, too late.
“This whole season has been an incredible journey, and I’ll always remember this night with my brothers,” Samuels said. “But everyone’s back to 0-0 now.”