Sports

Football: Oak Ridge topples Reed

By From page A11 | September 20, 2017

Oak Ridge 24, Reed 21

The monkey is finally off the Trojans’ back.

In a battle of the undefeated powerhouse programs, the Oak Ridge varsity Trojans defeated their out-of-state foe as the defense punished Reed to give Troy its first victory over the Raiders in four years.

It was a physical, hard-fought game that saw Oak Ridge leading the entire game.

Marco Baldacchino was his usual self throwing for 248 yards on 20 of 31 attempts with two touchdowns, but it was the defense that brought victory back to California over Nevada. The Raiders — from Sparks just outside of Reno, Nev. — were pressured all night long as Nate Otto lead the defense with 15 tackles. The Raider quarterback Cameron Emerson was sacked eight times and threw three interceptions — twice to Justin Poerio and once to Austin Jarrard.

Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere gave Jarrard the nod as the player of the night for his efforts. On defense he finished with five sacks and 13 tackles to go with his interception and on offense caught seven passes for 98 yards.

Near the end of the first quarter Jarrard picked off Emerson and returned it to the 6-yard line to set up the Trojans’ first score on a short field goal. In the second quarter Baldacchino ripped off a 77-yard rushing touchdown and with less than a minute to go in the half threw his first touchdown of the game to give the Trojans a 17-7 lead into the locker room.

Raiders running back Joshua Schmidt scored on two rushing touchdowns to bridge the gap, but two interceptions by Poerio crushed any Reed threat.

It was the drive midway through the third quarter that sealed the victory for the Trojans. After the Raiders brought he score to 17-14, Oak Ridge drove 76 yards on 11 plays. On 3rd-and-7 Poerio took a swing pass from Baldacchino, ran to the 4-yard line, fumbled and intercepted the Raider quarterback to set up an Oak Ridge touchdown on Davin Simmons’ 1-yard plunge.

Not your most conventional scoring drive, but it got the job done.

Oak Ridge is now 4-0 heading into a bye week before the team starts the league portion of its season on Sept. 29 against the Woodcreek Timberwolves.

The JV team also defeated Reed, 40-6, and the freshmen won 34-14.

Mark Studyvin

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