By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Sports Writer
Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, the Oxford Wildcats welcomed the Stoney Creek Cougars to Wildcat Stadium on Oct. 4 for the school’s annual homecoming game.
Instead of breaking the streak, Stoney Creek increased it to three games by beating Oxford 27-14.
A chilly fall evening, the Cougars got the scoring started when junior quarterback Ryan Eckhout found classmate Oswaldo
Villafuerte-Esparza for a 20-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
Wildcats senior Drew Carpenter tied the game at seven with a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Stoney Creek senior Zach Denha gave the Cougars a 14-7 halftime lead with a one-yard plunge of his own.
Finishing the game with 186 yards on 15 touches, Stoney Creek continued to ride Denha in the second half. Extending the Cougars’ lead to 21-7, Denha’s 86-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter was a momentum-changer.
The Wildcats pulled back within one-score when sophomore quarterback Brady Carpenter hit senior Matt Pullman for a nine-yard touchdown with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
While the Oxford defense gave up some big plays, they also were able to come up with stops when they needed them. Forcing a punt with 3:47 left in the game, the Wildcats took over at their own 21-yard line with a chance to tie the game.
Unfortunately, the Cougar pass rush forced Carpenter to fumble and hop on the football, giving their offense great field position to seal the deal.
With 1:57 left, Denha did just that; scoring his third touchdown of the night, this one from four-yards out.
“We let our homecoming game get away,” a disappointed Bud Rowley said.
“Too many mistakes, we had our chances and we let one get away in front of our home fans.”
One week after being penalized 14 times for 85 yards in the loss to Clarkston, Rowley’s team was more disciplined vs. Stoney Creek, committing just six penalties for 40 yards. The reduction in the number of penalties is a positive sign, but the Wildcats still had a couple of untimely infractions.
Trailing 14-7 in the third quarter, Carpenter had a 20-yard touchdown pass to Pullman negated by a holding penalty. Electing to go for it on 4th & 3 from Stoney Creek’s seven-yard line later in the drive, the Wildcats were stopped short and turned the football over on downs.
Aside from his fumble, Carpenter had a very strong game through the air, completing 9-10 passes for 175 yards and the score to Pullman.
“The focus now is on finishing our last three games strong,” Rowley declared.
“Our schedule is difficult, but we need to send our seniors out on a high note.”
One-in-three in league play, tied for fifth-place in the OAA Red, the Wildcats’ overall record now stands at 1-5.
Hitting the road again after three consecutive home games, Oxford plays Southfield A&T on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.