When you mix a historic, heated, rivalry with playoff football in a rematch and put a trip to the State Semifinals on the line, you end up with the Battle for The Boro’ 2 that we had in Murfreesboro last night. Traffic was backed up all the way down Warrior Drive as fans made their way into the open field that Riverdale opened as an extra parking lot. Once you made your way through the maze of cars and the security scan entrance you could feel the energy even half an hour till kickoff. The clock finally hit 0:00 and it was time to see who would be taking on Bradley Central and Boo Carter in the semifinals.
Oakland’s road jitters that Coach Creasy harped on last week were nowhere to be found early on as Riverdale quarterback, Braden Graham was strip sacked setting the Patriots up with an ideal field position. Oakland not only capitalized quickly with a Daune Morris touchdown run but forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and Morris added his second touchdown of the night. With just over six minutes remaining in the first Oakland had built a 14-0 lead. Riverdale began what looked to be a huge response drive, working the ball down inside the Patriot 30-yard line. Then disaster struck again for the Warriors as a bobbled snap was recovered and returned by Oakland to around the opposite 30. Oakland continued to punish Riverdale on the ground and capped off another short dive with an Ashton Jones touchdown run. With just a minute to go in the quarter, both teams had the ball three times in the first with Oakland scoring three touchdowns and Riverdale fumbling twice and punting once. We headed to the second with the Patriots up 21-0 and in control of all the momentum.
To open the second quarter, Riverdale punted back to Oakland and The Patriots continued their dominance as Daune Morris continued his stellar playoff resume with a 36-yard touchdown run where he burst up the middle and outran everyone on the field, making it 28-0 Oakland. The self-inflicted wounds were not done for Riverdale and they suffered another fumble and neither was Morris who took a direct snap 34-yards for his fourth touchdown of the night. With half of the second quarter still to play, Oakland led 35-0. Riverdale was unable to move the ball at all on the Patriot defense and was forced to punt and Oakland continued to win the field position battle, and emphatically, as they blocked the punt making a smack noise you could hear back in the additional parking. The ball was recovered inside the 10 and Ashton Jones scored his second touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. With just over three minutes to go Oakland extended its lead to 42-0. Riverdale began to make progress on their next drive and once again fumbled the ball near midfield. After a 30-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Riverdale, Morris took his second direct snap nine yards for his fifth touchdown. With 1:03 left in the first half Warriors trailed 49-0. That remained our score as we went to the break after a half that Oakland dominated in all three phases and the Patriots let the home stands know about it on their way off the field as they rushed on and did the Riverdale arm chop on their way across to the locker room.
The running clock was in effect for the second half due to TSSAA mercy rules, as Oakland received the second half kick. The Patriots moved the ball down the field and capped the drive off with a Aivery Haynesworth (son of former Volunteer and Titan Albert) touchdown run to make the score 56-0 with around six minutes left in the quarter after the running clock did its damage. As we ended the third quarter, Oakland had just returned a punt across midfield looking to score over 60.
When we started the fourth, it was just more of the same, Oakland running the mercy rule clock. A largely uneventful fourth featured a double pass from Riverdale that was completed and then downed inside the five-yard line but a penalty brought it back and Oakland preserved the shutout. As the fans started to celebrate, a respectful handshake took place at midfield and Oakland was one step closer to their fourth state title in four years. The best way to contextualize this win for Oakland is this; the largest margin of victory in this series before tonight was Riverdale 49-0 in the 90s. Oakland hit that mark at halftime.
Due to the overall performance of Oakland, the entire team is our MVP tonight and Coach Creasy was our MVP interview. Take a listen.