By: Dylan Dewitt
“We shouldn`t be here” was a motive that the Oilers heard and used to fire their fuel for the game Saturday afternoon in Shephardstown, WV. Coming up against one of the top ranked teams in the nation, there was no doubt that the Oilers Football Team was the underdog in this contest.
However, the game didn’t portray an underdog defeating the favored home team. The Findlay Oilers were able to score 20 unanswered points in the second half while holding arguably the best offense in the nation to zero points.
The Oilers scored first with a field goal by Jacob Allton, but the Rams answered right back with a touchdown of their own through the air. Another field goal for the Oilers was again followed by a Rams pass and catch touchdown that put them up 14-6. By the end of the half, the Rams held an eight-point lead going into the locker room at 17-9.
Both teams continued to turn to their strengths. The Oilers were using their nationally ranked rushing attack, and the Rams were using their nationally ranked passing attack. Although the Oilers had given up two touchdowns through the air, the defense was holding the Rams` offense below their averages.
Despite not being able to cross the plane of the end zone in the first half, the offense of the Oilers was still efficient. If the Oilers were able to continue the running success in the second half, and continue the defense they’d been playing all game, the tide could switch in their favor. And indeed it did.
The second half was Oilers football, and only Oilers football on both sides of the ball. This would prove to be the deciding factor in the game.
Dauda Sylla led off the scoring with a short touchdown run to close the gap on Shepard University. With the extra point, the Oilers were only behind by two, 17-15. Michael Campbell then delivered for the Oilers with a short touchdown run of his own. The two-point conversion was good, and the Oilers took the lead, 23-17.
The Rams had to answer, and looked like they were going to. Within the redzone, the Rams called on their passing offense, but Chiebuka Chukwuneke had other intentions, intercepting the pass. The following drive, Oilers Quarterback Rhys Gervais threw a strike to Airion Kosak for a touchdown to extend the lead to 29-17.
After scoring yet another touchdown, and making it twenty unanswered points against the Rams, the Oilers were looking once more to their defense. After a few big conversions on the drive, the Rams were not giving up easily. However, the Oilers’ defense stepped up once more when Aaron Ivory intercepted another pass. The defense of UF made yet another stop to add to their outstanding performance before the offense looked to run out the clock and seal the victory. Run play after run play, Sylla and Campbell were finding holes in the defense like they had all game, adding to their totals.
The Oilers sealed the victory, their first playoff victory in program history, backed behind a full team effort. The Oilers’ defense put together one of their most outstanding performances to hold the Rams’ nationally ranked offense to season lows in various categories while the offense of the Oilers continued to make impact through the air and on the ground. With the victory, the Oilers move on to the Sweet Sixteen against Assumption College on November 25 at 1 p.m.