By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The coveted “Double O” trophy is back in town as the Oxford Wildcats scored their first win of the season over cross-town rival Lake Orion Dragons last Friday.
After three winless weeks, each building on top of the last, the Wildcats opened up scoring in the second quarter and never looked back. As the closing whistle blew the score stood 51-27, Oxford dominant over Lake Orion.
“It’s always good to win a rivalry game,” Oxford Head Coach Zach Line said. “I thought the guys played really, really hard … The last couple of weeks the effort has been great, and now they’re starting to do their job and I think they’re learning that they don’t have to do anything more than just their job.”
A slew of players caught Line’s eye during the game. He praised the offensive line for “giving Brady (Carpenter) time to throw the ball and blocking the run game” and Asciutto for his work on all sides of the ball.
“I thought (Salvino Vackaro) ran very hard,” Line said. “Brady obviously had a great game. (He) didn’t throw any incompletions, just the one where he spiked it, so he’s doing a good job.”
Carpenter and Tate Myre were also praised for their leadership abilities in addition to their on-field performance.
Line also expressed gratitude for the fans sticking with the team despite the winless early season.
“I think they’ve been phenomenal,” Line said. “Even at both our away games so far they’ve shown up in big numbers. They’ve been loud for us and the team really feeds off that. It’s special when you have an 0-3 team and you have a crowd like that showing up and hootin’ and hollerin’ for your guys.”
Even in victory there is a need to keep improving, and Line has no plans on resting on rivalry laurels this week. Despite their effort players still put the brakes on too early, and there are errors on the special teams that need to be addressed.
“It’s one of those things you learn as you have success that this ball could keep going at any time,” Line said.
The Wildcats take on one of the state’s top teams, the undefeated Clarkston Wolves, for this week’s homecoming game. Recently the Wolves beat Southfield Arts & Tech 56-27, and last year Oxford fell to Clarkston twice by 14-35 and 7-21 respectively. Friday is the first time Oxford plays Clarkston at home during Line’s time as head coach.
“This will be a good test for us,” Line said. “I like that it’s a home game … I know the guys are excited. It seems like they feel Clarkston has grown as a rivalry, so I know they’ll be ready to go and focused every day for practice.”
Clarkston travels north to face the Wildcats at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 24. The homecoming parade begins at 5:30 p.m.
By Dean Vaglia