REEDSPORT — Alex Carson was thinking about redemption. And a win.
In overtime in a 20-20 tie with Oakland, first-year Reedsport coach Boe Pickett called a run to the sophomore running back on first down and 5. Carson had fumbled on his team's first play of the game, a run that would have netted a first down, and wanted to make up for the mistake.
Reedsport's Alex Carson looks for room to run Friday during the game against Oakland at Reedsport High School. Carson scored the winning touch…
“It sucked at first, first play of the game fumble it,” Carson said. “But I wanted to come out, Coach put the ball in my hands to win the game and I couldn’t let my team down.”
He bounced off tacklers and ran through arms, finally finishing with a stiff arm at the 5 and scored the go-ahead touchdown from 20 yards out, then powered in the two-point conversion for a 28-20 lead.
After the Oakers scored a touchdown on an unlikely 31-yard pass, Chris Reed nearly single-handedly stuffed the game-tying two-point conversion to secure the 28-26 win, Pickett’s first at the helm of the Brave.
“This is huge,” Pickett said, relief across his face. “My guys played with heart. We had injuries and they still stuck in there.”
The Reedsport offense moved the ball when it needed and scored the points necessary to win, but it was the defense that was the star Friday night.
Oakland quarterback Conrad Jones had a good day passing, 4-for-7 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, but Oakland couldn’t consistently establish its running game outside of one or two drives in the first quarter.
Jones rushed for minus-13 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns. Corbin Picknell rushed for 18 yards on 11 carries and fumbled twice. Dawson Tolliver had just 11 yards on four carries and Jacob Brooksby had just 19 yards on eight carries.
Oakland fumbled seven times and lost four.
Oakland rushed for just 14 yards on 36 carries, an average of less than a yard. Outside of that first-quarter stretch — when defensive end Javier Analco was on the sideline with his pads off and ice on his shoulder — Oakland could not move the ball on the ground.
“I’m a defensive-minded person. I love defense and always have,” Pickett said. “We showed we can do it. We fixed some of the stuff from the Neah-Kah-Nie game.”
It was through the air where the Oakers found the weakness.
All four of Jones’ completions were for more than 20 yards. Tolliver and Dakota Percell had success just running by the Reedsport defensive backs, getting behind the back line for chunk gains.
Jones found Tolliver on one such play in the first quarter, wiping out Reedsport’s early 6-0 lead, but the point after was no good and Oakland couldn’t pull ahead.
After Reedsport punted to follow Oakland’s opening score, the Oakers started at the Reedsport 35 and a play later Jones found Percell on a crossing pattern for a 24-yard connection. A few plays later, Jones rolled to his right and decided to run for the goal line.
The ball eventually squirted out, but a whistle and upward extended arms signaled he had already crossed into the end zone for an Oakers touchdown, a 12-6 lead after Reedsport held on the two-point conversion and Reedsport’s first deficit of the night.
It was short-lived.
Reedsport quarterback Nick Glover, who already had a touchdown pass by that point after finding a tip-toeing Michael Stanley in the corner of the end zone for the opening score, hit a wide open Dallas McGill on a corner route, and the tight end cut upfield and rumbled down the sideline for a 56-yard completion, flipping the field and getting Reedsport to the Oakland 23.
Glover and Carson combined to move it to the Oakland 9, then Reedsport ran the same play that worked earlier in the drive, but there was lots of congestion in the back of the end zone. No matter. Glover threw it up for the 6-foot-4 McGill and he out-leaped everyone to haul in the 9-yard score. Glover ran in the two-pointer himself for a 14-12 lead at the break.
“We have the ability to pass, but right now we have to set up the base offense,” Pickett said.
Oakland nosed in front in the third quarter, capitalizing on an overthrown ball to McGill and Jones running in his second TD of the night five plays later for a 20-14 Oakers lead.
Reedsport’s offense slowed in the second half, but managed to score when it absolutely needed to.
Down 20-14 to start the fourth quarter, Reedsport fell on one of Oakland’s seven fumbles at the Oakers 30 and got down to the 9 for a first and goal. Glover rolled a bit to his right and lofted one for Stanley, who again tip-toed at the sideline and hauled in a touchdown to tie at 20-20. Glover couldn’t get the two-pointer for the lead, though.
Oakland, however, stopped taking care of the ball. In Oakland’s last four possessions of regulation, the Oakers punted once, fumbled twice and had the clock run out on their fourth drive, but Reedsport couldn’t pull ahead. A punt and two turnovers on downs in long-yardage situations forced the extra period.
There, Carson bounced off tacklers and redeemed himself. Oakland seemingly forced a second OT, two-point dependent, when Jones lofted one for Percell down Oakland’s sideline after going backward to start its OT drive.
Glover came over in from deep safety, but ran into cornerback Eli Carson and they both fell down, while Jones’ pass fell perfectly into the belly of Tolliver as he fell across the goal line.
It was just the individual effort from Reed and the team rushing around to stuff Picknell on the two-point conversion to preserve Reedsport’s win.
“We got a lot of heart,” Carson said. “We’re ready to play no matter what happens.”
The Brave visit Glide next week.