Whitehaven edged Oakland to win the 2016 state title game. It was a different story on Thursday night. The Oakland Patriots dominated in all facets of the game in route to their first state championship since 2008. Oakland’s style of play has long been the power run game with great defense and both sides of the ball played excellent in their 37-0 win over the Tigers.
Senior Xavier Myers led the way for Oakland on the ground as he finished with 113 yards rushing and a touchdown. Justin Jefferson and power back Mookie Wilson also added scores on the ground for the Patriots who ground down the Whitehaven defense over the course of the game. Wilson appeared ready to score his second touchdown of the game early in the 4th quarter but he fumbled the ball into the air at the goal line before teammate Christian Cantrell grabbed the loose ball and scored for the Patriots. Quarterback Brevin Linnell was 9-14 passing for 97 yards and did well finding receivers when a key play was needed and managing the offense otherwise. Kicker Garrett Taylor was named TSSAA Kicker of the Year at the Mr. Football awards last Sunday and added three field goals to his total to round out the Oakland scoring.
Whitehaven has many talented players on offense and has put up big points all year but they couldn’t ever find their footing against Oakland. They managed only 81 yards of total offense on the night with just 3 first downs. By contrast, the Oakland offense had 322 yards for the game and 23 first downs. The lack of offensive success continually put the Tiger defense on the field in bad situations. The Patriots forced two turnovers with Quinton Buczynski recovering a fumble and Joseph Anderson hauling in an interception.
The victory marks the fourth state title for Oakland. The Patriots have previously won titles in class 3A in 1984 and class 5A in 1998 and 2008. Their record in the title game improves to 4-3 while Whitehaven’s title game record falls to 2-2.