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Eagles comeback falls short against Blackford

BY KEVIN HELFRICH

ctreporter@indy.rr.com

CONVERSE – Take away two plays, and the Oak Hill defense did an admirable job against the rush heavy wing-t offense deployed by Blackford.

Unfortunately, it was those explosive runs that propelled the visiting Bruins to a 21-12 win against the Golden Eagles on Friday in the Central Indiana Conference opener for both teams.

“We gave up those long runs and they were costly,” Oak Hill coach Bud Ozmun said. “That is what Blackford does, they are patient and wait for you to be out of position and they make you pay for it.”

Bruins' senior running back Isaac Justice delivered the biggest blow with just over two minutes remaining, scampering 45 yards on a 2nd down and 12 yards to go. Blackford had seen its 14-point, fourth quarter lead slip away to 14-12.

Justice continued the string of three opponents to rush for over 100 yards against Oak Hill this season. He finished with 16 carries for 149 yards.

Dalton Willmann provided the longest run of the game also using the left side of his offensive line to rumble 80 yards in the opening quarter to give Blackford a 7-0 lead it would never relinquish.

“I felt like those plays were really the difference,” Blackford coach Randy Sehy noted. “Those were just great runs.”

Scoring opportunities had been hard to come by for the Oak Hill offense the first few weeks. However, five times the Golden Eagles drove the ball inside the Bruins 20-yard line, only to be denied points on four of those trips.

“Too many times we got in the red zone and didn’t score,” Ozmun said. “We’ve got to find a way to punch those in.”

After failing to complete a first half pass - 2 potential touchdown passes dropped - a composed Clay McCorkle used a trio of receivers to inflict a second half aerial assault.

McCorkle found fellow junior Tristen Hayes for back-to-back fourth quarter touchdown passes of 37 and 27 yards that cut the deficit to 14-12 with 3:42 left.

“It was the first time (Tristen) had ever played tight end,” Ozmun mention of his new 6-foot-5 athletic target. “He dropped a couple early, but once he got a catch in and realized he could do this he became a big factor.”

A missed extra point forced the Golden Eagles into a 2-point attempt that would have tied the score. However, McCorkle was stopped a yard short.

“We fought even when we got down,” Ozmun said. “We worked our way back in it to have an opportunity at the end.”

Hayes, a two-way playmaker and budding star registered an interception and fumble recovery on a career performance.

“It’s exciting being the guy to get your teammates hyped up after big plays,” Hayes said. “I enjoy being out here with my brothers.”

McCorkle completed 12 of his 22 second half attempts for 218 yards.

“I just came out more calm,” said McCorkle who was 0-8 with an interception in the first 24 minutes. “I was able to read the defense better and we kind of got things rolling.”

Hayes hauled in four receptions for 104 yards. Kian Hite added five catches for 76 yards and Mason McKinney finished with 27 yards and two catches.

Oak Hill (0-3, 0-1 CIC) finishes a three-game home stand next Friday against Elwood in CIC action. Blackford (2-1, 1-0 CIC) hosts Frankton.