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South Oldham 28 Oldham County 21

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South Oldham wins their 10th straight in the series and now takes a lead in the all-time series, 17-16, over the Colonels.

It was a shame this rivalry game was played as the first game of the season - when so many little gremlins show up - and after COVID limited pre-season and off-season work.   As a result, we saw South Oldham cough up the ball on fumbles three times, Oldham's normally brutally-efficient QB Sam Young threw two interceptions, and both teams blew some big scoring chances.

Special teams were a little bit of an adventure....Oldham had a 37 yard FG blocked and South had a PAT blocked.....two snaps to the Oldham punter were botched, one gave South the ball inside the Oldham five yard line - but the Dragons promptly fumbled the ball right back to Oldham - the other gave the Dragons the ball at the Oldham 32 and led to the ultimate winning South score.

Lots of wide-open dropped passes....Oldham had two sure touchdowns dropped, one in the end zone, and one that was dropped at about the South ten with no defenders in sight.

So....the game was understandably a bit of an adventure....coaches Mike Fox of OC and Jamie Reed of South needed extra blood pressure meds after the game....

That doesn't mean it wasn't a good game.   This game was a LOT of fun to watch, from a fan's perspective, and both teams showed some real promise.

Both teams moved the ball relatively well early, with South getting it done on the ground behind the strong inside running of new fullback Kayden Anderson and the speed of Ethan Snider.    Oldham responded with some nifty passing from Sam Young, who spread 16 completions in the game around to 8 different receivers.

But neither got much done early, scoring-wise.   Oldham's best drive early ended with a blocked 37 yard field goal attempt.  South finally got on the board first, when Snider went in from two yards out to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead after one quarter.

Oldham scored to start the second period, on a one yard QB keeper by Young, tying it at 7 with 11:18 in the half.

A pass from South senior QB Alex Brown to fellow senior Kellen McGee - both seniors making their first-ever starts - pushed South back on top, 14-7 with 4:35 left in the second.

When the Dragons struck again with just 36.4 seconds left in the half - a 28 yard dash by speedy Nate Garrison - it appeared that South would head to the locker room up by multiple scores, with all the momentum.   In addition, South would get the ball to start the second half.

But one of the first game gremlins struck when the Dragons' PAT was blocked by Oldham County.

South appeared to stuff the Oldham offense, which was pulling out the stops in the passing game to get a late score, but a late hit penalty on third down kept the Colonels' drive alive, giving them the ball at the South 38 with 4.5 seconds left in the half.   The Colonels went deep on the final play of the half, with Young throwing a laser to the end zone - amazingly, Jacob Davis found a little opening among the cluster of South defenders, and he jumped to make the leaping grab in space, pulling Oldham to within 20-13 at the break.

Oldham largely had the upper hand, both offensively and defensively, in the third, and the Colonels managed the only score in the period.   Senior running back Tate Crowell, who rushed for 57 yards on 15 carries, took it into the end zone from 6 yards out with just 3.5 seconds left in the third.   Jacob Pollak's PAT split the uprights, and Oldham led for the first time at 21-20.

Oldham seemed to destined to make the one point lead stand up as the two teams battled in the fourth.   Neither team was able to capitalize.   South took the ball deep in their own territory, and took about four minutes off the clock on a long, time-consuming drive that appeared destined for a score.   The drive fizzled though, and Oldham got the ball with about four minutes left and a chance to ice the victory.    A fumble - recovered by the Colonels - cost Oldham about 6 yards on first down, and Oldham was forced to go three-and-out.

Ultimately, the Colonels had to punt, and the final first-game mistake wound up costing Oldham.   The snap sailed over the head of the punter, Thomas Dempley.   Dempley alertly tracked down the ball - at the Oldham 2 - and amazingly was able to get the punt away between two onrushing South defenders.   South wound up with the ball at the Oldham 32 with about 2 minutes left - plenty of time to run their normal offense and perhaps steal the game from the Colonels in the final seconds.

In the end, South didn't even need that much time.    Snider got his second TD of the game, slipping between Colonel defenders from 15 yards out with 1:06 to play.   South went for two, and Kellen McGee took the ball on a reverse to stake SO to a 28-21 advantage.

The final Oldham drive didn't move far, and South got the ball back and downs, and Brown took a knee to run out the clock and get the win for South.

Some miscellaneous thoughts....

  • Hard to know how good each team is after watching the game due to the 1) limited practice time that has the teams still a bit behind schedule, as compared to most opening week games, 2) the regular first-game miscues that often disguise the talent a bit, and 3) the emotion of a rivalry that frequently makes those rivalry games just a little more "messy" than other games.
  • The Dragons' running game appears to be in solid hands.    Snider flashed some real big-play ability, with runs of 32, 23, and 42 and two TDs on the night.   Kayden Anderson gives South something they haven't had in many years - a bulldozer type of fullback who can earn the tough yards due to his own physicality, as opposed to the "tailback"-type of fullbacks South has featured for several years.  Sophomore Jack McCubbin got only a few carries, but showed some real potential, and displayed an extra gear when he was able to get to the edge.
  • Kellen McGee was the Dragons' featured wideout on the evening, displaying a real ability to find open seams in the Oldham zone defense, but Anthony Estrada will undoubtedly be South's home run threat.   Estrada had only one catch, but South dialed up several deep throw attempts to him; the timing just isn't there yet between Brown and his receivers.
  • Special teams were something of an adventure....a blocked field goal, a blocked PAT, and a couple of miscues on snaps for punts....
  • Avante Johnson - a 5'9" 230 pound transfer from Central - had a big night for Oldham County.   He seemed to be around the ball on every play, displaying exceptional speed on defense, and among his highlights, recovered a South fumble that SO QB Alex Brown had initially appeared to recover.
  • Oldham had 8 different receivers catch balls - nobody caught more than 3 passes - but Jaylen McRoberts may ultimately be their best receiver.   McRoberts had at least one wide-open drop, but - like McGee of South - showed some ability to find open space.   He has some quickness to go with it, and elusiveness.   TE Isaac Starr had a couple of drops - not his best night - but he could potentially be a real trump card for Oldham in the passing game.   He was frequently open and has a nice balance of size and quickness.
  • South Oldham's linebacker corps appeared to be as good as advertised.  Austin Covington and Nate Garrison were particularly active and productive for the Dragons.
  • South's secondary - with all new personnel replacing a unit that was one of South's strengths last year - came in as a question mark, but the Dragons did a decent job of covering Oldham's receivers and forcing Oldham QB Sam Young to hold the ball for a long time.  They also contributed a pair of picks.
  • The right side of the South OL - with Ethan Phillips and Garrison Muth - had a great night.   Not sure what the final stats show, but it seemed that South focused on their advantage on that side.
  • Oldham defensively gave up 20 points in the first half, but seemed to really firm things up in the second half.   South never really threatened in the second half, and got their only second half score - the winning score - after starting that drive on the Oldham 32.   Besides Avante Johnson, Matthew Bruner - a smallish linebacker at 5-7, 145 - had a tremendous game, showing great speed in running down South runners from behind.   It seemed like I called Jalen Stratton's name a lot, too.   Brian Monteleone, at LB, was involved in seemingly every play.    
  • Interestingly, both teams dialed up several long pass plays.   South Oldham opened the game with the deep ball.    South's Brown struggled to complete those passes, but his receivers were often open and as he gets the timing down...     OC's Young hit on some deep balls, including a 38 yard TD to Jacob Davis and a 31 yarder to Crowell.    Both teams' passing efficiency, however, should improve from last night.

 A disappointing day for Oldham County, which snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and another notch in the belt of the Dragons of South Oldham, which is now 1-0 on the season.    South has won 10 or more games for five straight seasons; with an abbreviated regular season, making it six straight will be a challenge, but South off to a good start.

More challenges remain:

South goes to Jeffersontown this coming Friday (Game to be broadcast at www.pegasussportsky.com)    Kickoff is at 7 pm

Oldham travels to play Campbell County in northern KY.

Both teams have some challenges down the road:
Oldham will play #6 6A Fern Creek in two weeks (Pegasus broadcast) and has top 10 George Rogers Clark down the road.   OC also goes to Madison Central, ranked in some polls, and plays a dangerous Bryan Station team at home.

South will play #9 5A North Bullitt in a key district game in a few weeks, and closes their season against top 10 DeSales.   The Dragons also go to 6A Central Hardin.

CONGRATS to Jamie Reed and the Dragons, who are now 56-11 in the last 5+ seasons.... good luck to both South and Oldham County as they move into the rest of the season.

Colonelmike

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Best wishes to Oldham County's Jax Elkins, a big 6'3"-6'4" sophomore wideout that the Colonels tried to get the ball to frequently.   He was carried off the field by teammates in the third period after an apparent leg injury.     Elkins was the only player for either team we saw who came out of game play due to an injury; best wishes to that young man for a quick recovery.

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LOL - My apologies to all the viewers who may have been frustrated by the "down and distance" graphic.

Entirely my fault...."first game jitters" isn't always confined to the players.   I have to keep that manually in the computer during the game - unfortunately, in our first broadcast, I struggled a bit to keep that updated.   😕

I'll get better.  I promise.  🙄

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Great recap, @ColonelMike. South Oldham's program has become a favorite mine in recent years. They have a tremendous football coach, and a game like this is further proof of that. To lose the personnel that South lost and still come out and find a way to win with limited prep time and so many new faces speaks volumes about the foundation in place in Crestwood. 

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Tremendous development by both Jamie Reed at South Oldham and Mike Fox at Oldham County in the time they have been at their schools.

Both teams lost 22 or more players to graduation off teams that went 10-2 and 8-5 last year (both were regional runner-ups), but they both look they could be solid again this year.

REED - in his 10 years at South, the Dragons have never had a losing record (after winning just 39% of their games in the decade prior to Reed's arrival) and over the last five seasons, South has won 10 or more games each year while taking the Dragons to the region final (3x) and the state semi-finals (2x).

FOX - Mike has been at Oldham just three years, to date, but he's won 67% of his games in Buckner, and the Colonels have yet to have a losing season with Fox at the helm.  (after recording six consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival)   In each of his three years, Oldham has gone one step further in the playoffs than they did the year before.

Both schools should be doing everything possible to make these guys happy - they have really changed the fortunes at their respective schools.   

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