The annual Blackman-Oakland rivalry game has become one of the most anticipated games of the midstate high school football calendar. An impressive display of future Division I football players dot both rosters and the game lived up to its physical reputation. A downpour a few hours before kickoff left a few areas of standing water on the field but little rain fell during the game and did not seem to affect the outcome.
The Oakland Patriot mantra is dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball, and play suffocating defense. Those goals were accomplished in a great start to the game for the Patriots. Blackman only ran three offensive plays in a first quarter sandwiched by long Oakland scoring drives. The Patriot offensive line is one of the most physical units around and they pounded against the Blaze defenders all game to make space for running backs Xavier Myers and Mookie Wilson. After an early field goal to go up 3-0, Xavier Myers powered into the endzone from four yards out to put the Patriots up 10-0. The touchdown was set up by a long punt return from Woodi Washington and a powerful run down to the 4 yard line from Wilson.
Blackman was held in check on their first three possessions but finally hit on a big play late in the 2nd quarter to get back into the game. Running back Ta’micus Napier is a homerun threat with every handoff and he broke through the line for a 35 yard rushing touchdown with 4:13 left to go in the 2nd quarter to narrow the gap to 10-7 Oakland. Unfortunately for the Blaze, that was enough time for Oakland to mount another scoring drive before the break. Blackman had slowly been creeping defenders closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the run game all half. Patriot QB Brevin Linnell took advantage of this by going overtop of the defenders on passes to BJ Connard and Mookie Wilson to quickly move the ball down to the Blackman one yard line. Myers would convert from here for his second rushing touchdown of the night to put the Oakland lead at 17-7 at halftime.
The game was on the verge of getting out of hand after a Blackman 3 and out to start the second half followed by Xavier Myers’ third rushing touchdown of the night to extend Oakland’s lead to 24-7. However, a Blaze star was about to make a big play. Blackman had been experimenting with the Wildcat formation all night with playmakers Adonis Otey and Trey Knox occasionally lining up at the quarterback position. The plan finally paid off on the second play from scrimmage after the Myers’ touchdown when Otey took off down the right sideline for an 85 yard touchdown run to get Blackman back to within 10 points with a quarter left to play. The Blackman defense stepped up and gave the offense a couple chances to claw back to within a single score down the stretch but the Blaze came up short on two 4th down attempts and couldn’t put any more points on the board. A long Oakland drive took up much of the 4th quarter clock and the Patriots would win this Region 3-6A showdown 24-14. Oakland is now in the driver seat to win the Region title and secure homefield advantage in the playoffs.