Wildcats end season with 42-7 defeat

Players hug, console and chat with each other after Friday’s loss against Adams. The defeat ends their playoff run and a 6-5 season. Photo by D. Vaglia

By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
In the second round of the high school playoffs, the Oxford High School Wildcats’ football season came to an end with a near-shutout by the Rochester Adams Highlanders on Friday, Nov. 5.
“[It was] not the way we envisioned things going,” Zach Line, Oxford head coach, said.
The Highlanders opened up scoring with an unstoppable drive in the first quarter. Oxford tried to respond, but Jay Cady’s 36-yard field goal attempt missed the uprights. When Tate Myre finally rushed in for a touchdown, Adams had spent the last four quarters building a 42-point gap between them and the Wildcats. Ultimately spending their last drive winding down the final minute, Oxford ends its season with a 42-7 loss.
“That’s football, you have those nights,” Line said. “Unfortunately it’s a playoff game, so it’s win or go home. But I’m proud of this group of guys. They could have folded in at 0-3 or 1-4 but they fought hard to earn a spot in a year where you had to earn a playoff spot. I’m very excited for the future of Oxford football and the precedent and foundation that this senior group and this class has set going forward.”
Even with Friday’s loss in the MHSAA Division 1, Region 2-District 1 finals and the mistakes made throughout the game, Line is proud with how the team performed.
“From the sideline to the guys on the field,” Line said. “While we were being outmatched in our play, I felt like they played it hard until the end and even the guys on the sideline continued to cheer until the last second of the game. Those are signs of a team that’s together, nobody is turning on each other — and that’s the easiest time for those guys to turn on each other. When chips are down and against ya’, you start to point fingers. As a coach I was proud that they were picking each other up and trying to get back in the game even when it was 35-0 or 28-0.”
Friday ended poorly for the team, but it comes as the cap to a wild season of football. An early streak of losses ended with a road win over league rivals Lake Orion. Though losing to Clarkston the following week, Oxford went on a rampaging five weeks of non-stop winning, including beating Clarkson in the first round of the playoffs en route to Friday’s fateful game.
“This is one of the few team’s I’ve been on that every single week we got better,” Line said. “Even if it was a loss, there was something we took from the game where we could say we got better. We never took a step back all year long … That’s all you can ask for. In high school football you don’t have time in the offseason to do actual football and schematics, but you have to get better week by week.”
As players turn in equipment and focus on off-season programs come winter, Line is looking further ahead for ways to improve upon this year’s playoff-making performance. One of the long-term strategies includes applying his coaching and play style to lower Oxford Community Schools programs, familiarizing students with the OHS program well before hitting 9th grade.
“Just making sure that they know what they’re doing and it benefits them to not have to learn everything when they make varsity,” Line said. “They have an idea of the basics and fundamentals of what we’re doing so they can come in with just as much of an edge as the guy who’s a senior or junior.”
Line also thanked the coaching staff for their performance this season.
“I was amazed with how good those guys did and how much they poured themselves into every single kid,” Line said.

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