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Oaks defeat Pointers

SOUTH POINT – Just when it seemed South Point was about to close the door on Oak Hill’s season, along came the fourth quarter.

Saturday, October 30, 1999

SOUTH POINT – Just when it seemed South Point was about to close the door on Oak Hill’s season, along came the fourth quarter.

The Pointers led 14-7 heading into the final period when the Oaks caught fire, scored four touchdowns and pulled away to a 34-14 win and keeping alive their hopes for a berth in the state tournament.

"In the fourth quarter, South Point wore down and we just ran our fullback off tackle," said Oaks coach Merle Triplett. "I thought our kids might drop their heads, but they came back. They just took over the fourth quarter."

Oak Hill stuck with their usual "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense including converting seven of eight fourth down conversions.

"It’s just another down to us," Triplett said. "The way we look at it is, if it’s fourth down and we have less than five yards to go then we are going for it."

Oak Hill’s workhorse fullback Chad Russ carried the ball more than half of his teams’ plays. He had 223 yards rushing on 35 carries and three touchdowns.

South Point was led by quarterback Jarrod Smith who threw for 166 yards and one touchdown.

The Pointers, at one point, were missing their entire backfield and it showed as they gained only 10 yards on 12 carries on the ground.

"We never really got our running game going," said Pointers coach Chris Watts. "We played hard and the kids did everything we asked them to all season. We had them shut down until the fourth quarter. I wish we could play the last few minutes over."

Triplett freely admits he loves to pound the ball down the field and the Oaks opening drive was no exception. They took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards in 10 plays for the score.

The first fourth down conversion yielded the first score when Russ carried a pair of tacklers into the end zone from nine yards out. Josh Brunton added the point after.

South Point tied the game later in the quarter when they blocked a James Brown punt and Josh Hunter scooped up the loose ball and took it 18 yards for the touchdown.

Oak Hill had a pair of touchdowns called back in the first half the second of which came on a Brunton pass from 13 yards out. Two plays later Shane Holsinger leaped and hauled in an interception at the 1-yard line where the half would end.

South Point drove deep into Oaks territory to start the second half but Smith was intercepted.

When the Pointers got the ball back Smith connected with Willie Anderson for a 79-yard touchdown pass with 3:36 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth the Pointers were about to put the game out of reach when Smith hit D.J. Bryant with a 44-yard touchdown pass. The score was called back for a procedure call.

Two plays later and the game would change for good. Smith was hit while throwing and Jerry Nichols waited patiently for the rainbow to come down. He intercepted and outran the pursuit 67 yards for the touchdown. Brunton missed the extra point making it 14-13 with 10:48 left.

"That was the key moment of the game," Watts said. "We went from a possible 14-point lead to putting them right back in the game. I think we wore down a little late."

Oak Hill got the ball back with a short field facing it as the punt went out at the 35-yard line. Four plays later Josh Nelson ran up the middle, bounced outside and went 24 yards for the touchdown making it 19-14 with 7:11 left.

Nichols again picked off a Smith pass and on the next play Russ, with Brunton leading the way, went 40 yards untouched for the touchdown. Nelson carried the two-point conversion making it 27-14 with 6:22 left.

The Oaks scored the final touchdown on a 10 play 52-yard drive. Russ bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out with 1:18 left in the game.