Surging Chargers host Lewisburg for HC
Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 8, 2015
After a week off between its non-region and region schedules, Oxford has been on a mission.
With dominant performances against West Point and Saltillo the last two weeks, the Chargers are aiming to make it three in a row when they host the Lewisburg Patriots Friday.
It is homecoming week for Oxford (4-2, 2-0 Region 1-5A) as the Chargers return to the friendly confines of Bobby Holcomb Field after a 50-7 performance at Saltillo last week.
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While the Chargers have cruised through the opening weeks of region play, the same cannot be said for Lewisburg (2-5, 0-2). The Patriots lost a close 33-30 overtime game to Center Hill on Sept. 25 and fell to Lake Cormorant, 42-35, last week.
Oxford’s offense has returned to the high-octane form it’s been known for the past couple years. Scoring 100 points the past two weeks, with 76 of those coming in the first half, some on the Chargers’ team feel this is the best offense to take the field for Oxford.
“We have more experience than last year,” Oxford receiver D.K. Metcalf said. “Our whole offense is back. So we all played last year, and we know what it takes.”
After the Saltillo game, Oxford coach Johnny Hill did not know too much about the Patriots, but after watching film and studying, he knows actually what to expect from them Friday night.
“(Lewisburg) is pretty good offensively,” Hill said. “They’ve got some big linemen, big tight end, big quarterback. They run the ball and can throw it. Defensively, I’m not sure how they are going to play us. I feel like we have a little bit of edge speed-wise on them. I think they do a good job on special teams also. So it ought to be a good matchup.”
A dual-threat quarterback has become common practice across high school football, and Lewisburg is no exception. Senior Jake Harville has proven to be efficient with his arm and his legs this season. He has thrown the ball more than 160 times, completing 87 for 912 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Efficient run game
On the ground, Harville is the second-best rusher for the Patriots. He has 740 yards and seven touchdowns on 127 carries. Fellow senior Ben Hoffman leads the Lewisburg running attack with 98 carries for 877 yards and has scored nine times.
Oxford’s defensive front has been able to shut down its opponent’s run game the past couple weeks, but Lewisburg could be the biggest challenge to date.
“I think they’ll be fine,” Hill said of his defensive line. “I’m not worried about that. I think our defensive front is kind of our strength. Our defense kind of invites the run up in there, and that’s good.”
With the loss of Drew Bianco, the Charger backfield now belongs to two players. Sophomore Hiram Wadlington and senior Joshua Patton will split time as the main running backs for Oxford the rest of the season.
“We lost Bianco, but we got two guys who are as productive and will be fine,” Hill said. “Patton has got great speed, and Hiram has got great speed and vision. He’s tough to catch in the open field, and he’s also a really good receiver. So we feel very comfortable with those two back there.”