Trojans' defense leads team to 33-6 win over Grant

Evan Robinson scores three touchdowns for Trojans
By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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A suffocating defense led Oak Ridge High’s football team to a 33-6 win over Grant on Friday night.

The Trojans, 2-1 in the Sierra Foothill League, and 5-1 overall, allowed the Pacers (1-1, 3-3) only three first downs the entire game, the first coming with two minutes to play in the third quarter. Grant’s only score came five plays later. Oak Ridge caused two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and a muffed punt recovered by the Trojans was the third turnover for the Pacers.

Jake Dyer recovered a fumble in the second quarter, while EJ Delwiche fell on the muffed punt on the next possession. In the fourth quarter, Matt Murphy sacked the Pacers’ quarterback Xavier Johnson and caused a fumble, which Sam Sanders scooped up and returned  about 15 yards for a touchdown.

It was a promising defensive performance for the Trojans. After being burned by the big play by the speedy Bulldogs two weeks ago, the Trojans gave up next to nothing to the Pacers.

“The defense was spot on and played great,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “The defensive coaches put together a great game plan and the players executed it. I’m really proud with how the defense played.”

While everyone played well defensively, it all starts in the trenches and the Trojans’ defensive line got the job done. Gage King and Nathan Addleman on the ends and Matt Murphy and Anthony Whiting inside controlled the line of scrimmage.

“Grant has a lot of athletes, but we just stuck to what we do,” said King, who also scored a touchdown in the game. “Our game plan was to contain their quarterback and receivers. We felt we had an advantage on the defensive line. We felt we could do some things, and we got pressure on the quarterback and helped out our DBs.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Oak Ridge finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. The Trojans capped off their third drive of the game with a four-yard touchdown pass from Matt Jenner to Evan Robinson. It was the first of three touchdowns for both players.

That was the offensive highlight of the first half. While the Oak Ridge defense was solid throughout the game, the offense was not. The Trojans turned the ball over four times with three fumbles and an interception; three times in the first half. Beyond turnovers, the team was plagued by penalties.

“Offensively, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Cavaliere said.

With the way the defense was playing, the Trojans put the game away with two touchdowns on their first two possessions in the third quarter. Jenner hooked up with King for a 40-yard touchdown pass. On the next possession, Jenner found Robinson for a 34-yard score, as the Trojans led 19-0 after three quarters.

After Grant’s only score early in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge tacked on two more: Sanders’ fumble return followed by Robinson’s third touchdown of the game, this one on a nine-yard pass from Justin Lamson in the final minute of the game.

Jenner completed 13-of-23 passes for 184 yards and three scores and one interception. Addleman rushed 18 times for 55 yards, while Gui Lozada had 10 carries for 37 yards. King caught three passes for 63 yards and a score, while all three of Robinson’s catches went for touchdowns totaling 47 yards. Avant Jacobs also caught three balls for 59 yards.