For Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team, the playoffs start two weeks early. With a 1-2 record in the Delta River League and a 5-3 mark overall, the Trojans need one more league win to even have a chance for the playoffs. Two wins will not only put them in the playoffs, but could possibly earn them a home game. The push for the playoffs begins Saturday afternoon at Jesuit, when the Trojans face the Marauders, who are coming off a big 35-33 win over Sheldon, who two weeks ago defeated Oak Ridge. The Marauders have the same league record as the Trojans and are 4-4 overall and will be as desperate as Oak Ridge will be to get that second league win. “Jesuit’s a talented team,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “They’ve good a really good quarterback in Tom Sperbeck, who’s a dual threat who can throw and run the ball. He threw for more than 300 yards against Pleasant Grove so we’re going to have our hands full.” Pleasant Grove 49, Oak Ridge 14 Oak Ridge hung with Pleasant Grove for as long as they could, which was longer than most of the top-ranked team’s opponents this season, before succumbing to the Eagles’ superior talent, 49-14. Although the final score suggests otherwise, for three quarters the Trojans were in the game before Pleasant Grove scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away. The longer the game went, the larger the deficit grew for the Trojans. The game was tied at seven after one quarter; Pleasant Grove took a seven point lead into halftime and led by 14 after three quarters. The biggest play of the game, ironically, came on a referee’s call midway through the third quarter. Trailing 28-14, the Trojans faced a third-and-four from their own 26-yard line. Quarterback Dylan Collie rolled this his left and heaved a pass to Brandon Herd some 30 yards down field. Herd was behind the Pleasant Grove defensive back and reached back for the ball, which was slightly underthrown, but wasn’t able to catch the pass as the defender was all over him. Everybody thought the pass interference penalty was on the Eagles and after a lengthy discussion; the referees flagged Herd for pushing off, a decision that sent a majority of the Oak Ridge coaching staff ballistic. “I would never blame a loss on a referee’s call, especially on a game when we lose by as many points as we did tonight, but that call certainly changed the momentum of the game,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “That was a momentum killer. It really was a poor call, but it’s something that’s out of our control and we’ve got to be able to overcome that and we weren’t able to.” Pleasant Grove didn’t score after Oak Ridge’s ensuing punt on fourth down, but the Trojans never had good field position the rest of the game, as they couldn’t get out of their own end. The Eagles opened the scoring by finishing off the game’s opening drive with a 6-yard pass from Cody Demps to Mark Jenkins, who the Trojans held in check in the first half, limiting him to 51 yards on 11 carries. The Trojans’ first drive ended on a missed 47-yard field goal by John David Smith, but the defense picked him up by forcing a fumble, which Preston Dean recovered at the Pleasant Grove 30-yard line. It took the Trojans only five plays to capitalize, as Ryan Adair scored on a 2-yard run. Pleasant Grove took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Jenkins. Oak Ridge drove down to the Eagle 26-yard line to finish off the half, but Smith missed another long field goal, this one from 44 yards, and the Trojans went in at halftime down seven. The Eagles went up 21-7 early in the third, but the Trojans came right back and cut the lead to seven on a one-yard run by Collie, which was set up by Collie’s only completion of the night, a 49-yard bomb to Byron Spain. Three plays later, however, Oak Ridge committed its biggest mistake of the night, giving up a big scoring play, and it was all downhill from there following Colin Serne’s 68-yard touchdown runs. On Oak Ridge’s next possession came the offensive pass interference call and things just got worse from there. JV Oak Ridge 35, Pleasant Grove 33 In a back-and-forth battle between two good teams, Oak Ridge came away with the thrilling two-point win by stopping an Eagle conversion with 1:01 to play. The Trojans held a 28-14 lead early midway in the third quarter, but the Eagles scored twice to cut the lead to one, 28-27, in the fourth quarter after they missed an extra point. With 4:20 to play, Oak Ridge quarterback Jacob Sipes threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Colton Giorgi and Ryan Lamb’s extra point gave the Trojans a 35-27 lead. The Eagles marched down the field to score, but the Trojans stopped the conversion and held on for the win. “It was a dogfight between two good teams,” Oak Ridge coach Ron Short said. “I’m really proud of my team because they learned how to dig deep tonight. When we needed the stop on defense we came through and got it.” Josh Wellman scored Oak Ridge’s first two touchdowns on runs before Sipes threw three scoring passes to Tanner Hughes, Justin Priest and Giorgi. Lamb made all five of his extra points.