OAK HILL — The great thing about football is that there’s always another game for everything to come together.
Coming into Friday’s game, Oak Hill had scored just 13 points all season and was coming off a shutout loss against Rock Hill.
After Friday’s game, it’s all in the past.
The Oaks mixed up their offensive playbook and made the defensive stops when it needed to as it pulled out a 21-14 victory over Northwest in non-conference action.
“I’m so proud of these guys, and they deserve all the credit for sticking with everything. All week they’ve talked about how they have to work hard, and then some more,” Oak Hill coach Paul Carver said. “It’s so satisfying for me to see their hard work pay off. Players get credit for wins, coaches take blame for losses, and I’m so happy for these kids.”
Early on, it looked as if Northwest potentially could run away with the game. It gave the ball to Wyatt Brackman and he barreled his way down the field as Oak Hill searched for answers as to how to stop him.
But the Oaks caught two lucky breaks as the Mohawks fumbled twice inside the five-yard line and lost possession both times to keep the game scoreless.
Though the Oaks defense continued to hold up, the offense opened the game with five straight possessions of three-and-out. And on the final on, Northwest cashed in with a seven-yard touchdown run from Tanner Bolin to put it ahead 7-0 in the second quarter.
However, the Oaks countered back on the first play as Darrick Boggs hit Braylon Howell on a slant, and Howell turned on the jets for a 63-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7 — a score that remained to halftime.
“We threw the ball a little bit more than we usually do or like to, but we caught some passes, and that’s an improvement,” Carver said. “It’s a little out of our comfort zone, but it worked so that might be a direction we have to go moving forward to help supplement our running game.”
After forcing a Mohawk punt to open the third quarter, the Oaks put together a drive behind the tandem of Howell and Aidan Hall. Boggs also completed a big third down pass to Nate Clutters to extend the drive.
Howell ran for 48 yards on the drive alone before it ended with a three-yard touchdown run from Hall — the first of his career to put the Mohawks ahead 14-7.
“That was a sweet feeling getting the first touchdown of my varsity career,” Hall said. “We gave it everything we had, but that was a cool moment. One I’ll never forget.”
Oak Hill had all momentum in the fourth quarter, but just as it was about to put what felt like the final nail in, it fumbled, and Northwest recovered with a short field to its advantage.
Three plays later, Austin Newman broke contain and hit the edge before finding paydirt 21 yards later to tie the game 14-14 with 5:36 left in the game.
That was more than enough time for the Oaks though. Methodically melting the clock, they drove down the field with the help of some big plays.
Boggs connected with Garrett McKinniss on a 25-yard pass, followed by a 12-yard run from Howell to put them inside the red zone.
Four plays later, Howell plunged his way into the endzone from one-yard out to secure a 21-14 lead and ultimately, the game.
“We’ve been down this year so much because of going 0-3 and getting off to a slow start,” Howell said. “From the beginning of the game, we just went 100% and never stopped, so this is an incredible feeling to finally get that first win.”
Howell finished with 141 total yards (78 rushing, 63 receiving) and two touchdowns, while Hall added 10 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Boggs finished 8-of-16 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Oak Hill returns to action on Friday at Nelsonville-York.
“We had so many people thinking that we were going 0-10 because of losing so many seniors,” Howell said. “We have little experience and we’re playing a lot of young guys, but it’s great to get a win in front of the home crowd. Hopefully this is the start of something.”