Trojans grind way past Christian Brothers, 27-14

By: Jim Stiles
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The Oak Ridge Trojans, who struggled through a difficult and winless preseason schedule, are coming off two consecutive wins in league play and managed to keep their momentum going tonight in a 27-14 win over Christian Brothers. The Falcons, coming into the game ranked No. 16 in the Sac-Joaquin Section, posed a serious threat to the Trojans homecoming plans. As Oak Ridge struggled to gain anything more than a few yards during their first possession and watched as their star receiver/running back, Brett Thompson, left the game due to injury, it looked like it would be a long night for the home team. The Falcons, looking like spoilers, scored on the first play from scrimmage with an 80-yard touchdown run from senior Josh Tucker. Without their leading scorer and down seven points in the first minutes of the game, Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere rallied the home team and orchestrated a 13-play drive deep into Falcon territory. A run for a loss and a failed hard count moved Oak Ridge to fourth and long where junior Robbie Beyer kicked a 20-yard field goal to put the Trojans on the scoreboard. Perhaps it was the pomp and ceremony of the night, or the constant encouragement by the Oak Ridge coaching staff, but with their first points on the board the Trojan sideline began to change. The Trojans stopped Christian Brothers on their next possession with key tackles from Taylor Reiben for a turn over on downs. Two minutes into the second quarter and set up by four solid runs, Oak Ridge junior Tommy Massa caught a pass from Connor Benander for a 26-yard touchdown. The Trojan momentum had started. The momentum continued on the Trojans' next possession when they use 13 plays to march down the field for another score, this one by Jacob Allen to put them ahead 17-7 with three minutes left in the half. The Trojans kicked another field goal seconds before halftime to bring their lead to 20-7. The teams both ran the ball up the middle and off-tackle fighting for short yards through the line. But at the end of the third quarter only the Falcons would find the end zone with a 27-yard run that brought them within reach at 20-14. The fourth quarter continued the relentless Trojan running game. Cavaliere, trusting his offensive line, continued running Allen at the Falcons play after play. With four minutes left in the game Allen went in for his second touchdown. At the end of the night the workhorse junior racked up 44 carries and two touchdowns. Following the game Allen shared the credit with his teammates “This was a team effort. People doubted us but we changed that. When we play together like this and get this kind of win we prove them wrong.” According to Cavaliere the grinding running game was made possible by his offensive line. “The line played inspired tonight. They really believed in each other. That was the key.” Next week the Trojans travel to Folsom to Face Vista del Lago. Junior Varsity The Trojan JV team played an emotional first half scoring first with a long touchdown run. Tim Spykerman blocked a field goal resulting in a scoop and score and fired up his teammates in the process. By halftime the home team led 21-14. However five minutes into the second half the Falcons scored their first of three unanswered touchdowns to finish off the Trojans 35-21. In preparing for Vista Del Lago next week, Oak Ridge will work on fundamentals. Despite the loss Trojan coach Aaron Brackney credited his offensive line “My hat is off to the O-line. They played hard and executed when we needed them.”