CORNER—On a night chock full of defensive football, junior safety Cameron Blalock wrapped his arms around a tipped pass and immediately ran to the sideline in celebration of Corner’s 29-28 double-overtime victory over Oakman on Friday night in Corner Stadium.
Blalock read the fake point-after attempt early and drifted to the middle of the field as Oakman holder Baylor Odom floated a pass into the end zone. The ball was tipped and Blalock went airborne, fighting through contact to secure the game-ending interception in the second overtime period.
“It was an incredible moment, man,” said Blalock of the ensuing celebration.
The regular season finale went to overtime knotted at 22-all and both teams missed field goal attempts in the opening period. Oakman senior Lucas Bridges went wide left on a 30-yard try, quickly followed by Lane Gilchrist’s miss from 22 yards out.
Both teams would find the end zone in the second overtime. Corner (7-3) started with three straight runs from Joshua Myrick out of the Wildcat look, the last of which went 1 yard for a touchdown. Gilchrist’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 29-22 advantage, and put them one stop away from their seventh win of the season.
The Wildcats (6-4) answered with a touchdown on their second snap when Cristian Lopez flipped a 6-yard touchdown pass to Christian Hubbard, cutting the deficit to 29-28. Instead of playing for a third overtime, Oakman called for the fake and Blalock made a play.
“If this group can get any tighter than it already is, I want to see it because you’re talking about some guys that play with a chip on their shoulder,” said Clements. “The last six weeks have just been really something special and I’m just glad to be the coach here, man. These kids just keep finding a way to win.”
Oakman opened the game with a six-play, 72-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard scamper by Hubbard for a 7-0 lead. The long march was aided by an offsides penalty that converted a third-and-2, and a 41-yard shot from quarterback Lucas Bridges to receiver Dante’ Williams Jr. down to the Corner 12-yard line.
The Yellow Jackets would, however, adjust defensively, forcing the Wildcats into five straight three-and-outs leading up to halftime. Corner held the Wildcats to less than 250 yards of offense and held them to a 3-for-13 effort in third-down situations.
“That’s just Rusty Rouse doing what Rusty Rouse does,” said Clements of his defensive coordinator. “He gets those guys to play so hard and it’s the whole defensive staff… those guys have been doing that all year and it’s not a shock to me.”
Skyler Trawick intercepted a Christian Lopez pass and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown, extending the Jackets’ lead to 22-7 with 5:51 remaining in the game, but Oakman would answer with two quick touchdown drives to force overtime.
Lopez finished a six-play drive with a 13-yard score to trim the difference to 22-14 with 3:33 remaining and 56-yard catch-and-run from Hubbard set the scene for an equalizing 2-point conversion with one minute remaining. Hubbard, who found his way to the end zone three times on Friday night, caught a short pass in the flat, spun off a would-be tackler and shot down the right sideline for the final touchdown of regulation.
Corner’s two first-half touchdowns came courtesy of Brody Tavel (7-yard TD run) and Myrick (3-yard TD run).
The Jackets, who notched Region 5’s final playoff spot with a win over Lawrence County last week, is scheduled to visit Region 8 champion Madison County next week in the opening round of the playoffs.