By ERIC HINDERLITER – firstname.lastname@example.org
Oak Hill’s football team had no answer for Winamac Warrior running back Matt Shorter Friday night in their sectional semi-final game.
Shorter ran over the Eagles scoring four times in leading the Warriors to a 35-14 win. Shorter carried the ball 25 times racking up 273 yards. He also caught one pass for 30 yards putting him over 300 total yards on the night.
“He’s a good athlete,” noted an impressed Oak Hill coach Bud Ozmun.
Despite being outplayed in the first half, Oak Hill remained alive at the halfway mark down 13-7. They were able to stay in the game early on thanks to the defense bailing them out of three difficult situations. Shorter took the ball on the very first play of the game for 48 yards and deep into Eagle territory. Four plays later, the Eagle defense held the Warriors on downs. On Winamac’s next possession, quarterback Jack Degroot hit Shorter on a 30 yard pass, putting them back in business in Oak Hill territory.
But on the very next play, Oak Hill was able to force a fumble, recovered by Noah King, who picked up the ball and rumbled 60 yards before going down at the Winamac 14. King found the endzone four plays later giving the Eagles an early lead.
Winamac took no time responding with a five-play 67-yard drive to tie the game.
Shorter scored the first of his touchdowns early in the second quarter. Winamac got in a great spot late in the first half after blocking an Oak Hill punt. But the Eagles kept the deficit at 13-7 with a big fourth and goal stop on the last play of the half.
Oak Hill struggled to find a rhythm offensively throughout the game, especially in the second half.
“We knew they were going to pressure us defensively up front,” said Ozmun. “We had too many missed assignments and blocks.”
Noah King led the way on the ground on a very hard-earned 84 yards, but it took him 26 carries to do so. As a team, Oak Hill gained just 116 yards on the ground. Adam McDivitt completed five passes for 70 yards.
Shorter was the story of the second half adding three more scores and accumulating a large number of his 273 yards. Tackling, a year-long inconsistency for the Eagles, once again proved a problem.
“We knew we couldn’t afford to be out of position or let them break tackles,” lamented Ozmun.
Winamac advances to the sectional championship and are riding a seven game winning streak. Oak Hill bows out of the season with a 6-5 record.
Ozmun had praise for his senior class including three four-year lettermen: King, McDivitt, and Owen Perkins.
“You could tell how good they were because of their experience. They were our leaders,” he said.