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Stakes high for Redmen, Oaks

If this were a poker game, the stakes would be high.

Wednesday, September 08, 1999

If this were a poker game, the stakes would be high. It’s only the third game of the season, but ramifications are running high when the Rock Hill Redmen travel to play the Oak Hill Oaks Friday night.

Both teams trying to stay unbeaten, each wants bragging rights in this rivalry, and big playoff points could be at stake to the team that holds the winning hand.

"If we can beat Rock Hill, that’s three bigger division schools, and they’re three good teams who will get a lot of points," Oak Hill head coach Merril Triplett said.

Rock Hill coach Andy Hall has similar thoughts about the importance of a win over the Oaks, but he takes it a step beyond.

"A win means playoff points and bragging rights for a year," said Hall. "This will be a good measuring stick for us to see where we’re at. We’re still making a lot of mistakes, but we’re getting better.

"Our kids are really forward to this game. It’s one of the more exciting non-league games in the area. It’s one of those long-standing rivalries."

The rivalry was never more evident last year when the Redmen went 0-10, but were driving for the game-tying score before time ran out in a 20-14 loss to the Oaks.

Not only are similar gains at stake, but the teams are a lot alike in size and style.

"Rock Hill has a lot of big backs and they run off tackle real well. They have a lot of big linemen and they play a lot of linemen. And on defense they are aggressive and play hard. They’re going to keep the football away from you," said Triplett.

Oak Hill, 2-0, is led by senior quarterback Josh Brunton (6-4, 230) who threw for 95 yards and ran for 27 in the first game win. The Oaks stayed with their ground game in last week’s win over Unioto.

The Oaks have a big fullback in Chad Russ (6-2, 205) who gained 83 yards on 17 carries last week. The other running backs are Josh Nelson (5-9, 190) and Jarrod Willis (5-11, 190).

Nelson and Willis also anchor the defense as linebackers.

"I don’t think there will be a whole lot of finesse in this one. They line ’em up and go. There’s no secret to what they’re going to do," Hall said. "Their juniors and seniors have a lot of experience and are a lot better than last year, which is a lot like us. We’re mirror images in some aspects."

Rock Hill, 2-0, is led by running back Scott Turley with 33 carries for 188 yards. Johnny Webb has 80 yards on 19 tries and Kevin Dilley 68 on 13 attempts.

Quarterback Gabe Medinger is 9 of 19 for 100 yards and an interception.

The top receivers for the Redmen are Josh Harper who had three catchers for 53 yards and Richie Webb two grabs for 28 yards.

Despite the offensive numbers, Hall said mistakes are the key.

"The key to the game will be turnovers. It will be a ball-control game. There are two reasons why we’re 2-0. One, we haven’t turned the ball over and we’re coming after people on defense. We’ve got to continue what we’ve been doing," said Hall.