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Trojans slip by Eagles, 7-6

By: Matt Long
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In a battle between Sierra Valley Conference unbeatens, Oak Ridge escaped with a 7-6 win over Vista del Lago on Friday night. The Trojans are now 4-0 in league play with their toughest opponents behind them, as they aim to win the Sierra Valley Conference title, while the Eagles slip to 3-1. In a low-scoring, hard-hitting game where the yards were tough to come by, the difference in the game was an extra-point, as Robbie Beyer kicked his through the uprights. After a scoreless first half, Vista got on the board early in the second half on a 45-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Scott Fukui’s extra point, however, was wide left. The Trojans’ touchdown came late in the third quarter on the heels of two Vista penalties, which hurt them badly and at the same time, helped the Trojans. First a pass interference call and then a defensive holding call that gave the Trojans the ball first-and-goal at the seven-yard line. On the next play, Jacob Allen took it in for the score and Beyer’s extra point gave his team the 7-6 lead. Vista had the ball three more times, but fumbled once and were forced to punt the other two times, as Oak Ridge’s defense rose to the occasion. Oak Ridge got the ball back with 3:27 to play and ran the clock out to earn the win. Allen picked up three first downs on the final drive, running behind a line of tackles Michael Swan and Taylor Hicks, guards Matt Coffrini and Ryan Boudreau, center Brett Green and tight end Nick Buerki. “It all started up front,” Oak Ridge quarterback Connor Benander said. “Whoever won that battle their team was going to win and our line did a great job.” “They were huge tonight,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “When it came time to win the game, they took over and they’ve done that all year. We’ve had three close games now and we’ve had to lean on them and they’ve come through when it’s counted.” Vista coach Chris Jones was proud of his team, despite coming up short. “Our guys weren’t phased by the environment and weren’t shell-shocked to be in a game like this,” Jones said. “We had a couple of penalties that hurt us, but we took a step tonight and grew up a little bit playing in a league championship setting.” After the game, Jones and Cavaliere met at midfield and shook hands. “I just told him that it was a great game and that it was fun,” Jones said. “It’s nice to be able to shake hands and talk after a game like that.” Cavaliere added, “I told him it was a heck of a game and it could have went either way. It was a hard-fought win. Vista came prepared and fired up and our guys did the same.” Trojans win JV game, 26-10 In the junior varsity game, Oak Ridge trailed 10-0 early, but scored 26 unanswered points to win 26-10. Danni Bragg kicked a 23-yard field goal for the Eagles and Seth Sobottka’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Wisinski made it 10-0 following Bragg’s extra point. The Trojans scored just before the half on an 8-yard run by quarterback Frank Trifeletti. Dylan Collie gave the Trojans the lead for good with a 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. In the fourth, Trifeletti hooked up with Collie for a 12-yard score and JD Spencer finished the scoring with a 56-yard run. “Vista played a great game defensively and were well coached on what we do, but we eventually got the momentum and kept it going,” Oak Ridge coach Aaron Brackney said. “We gave the game ball to Daniel Portela, who played offensive and defensive tackle for us. The line grinded this win out and we wore them down.”