Oxford outlasts Lewisburg to win the region

Published 2:19 pm Saturday, October 28, 2023

Oxford would find itself in a 21-0 hole early but found a way to outlast the Lewisburg Patriots and come away with a 35-28 region-clinching win.

Lewisburg (6-3, 2-2 Region 1-7A) went on a 21-point scoring to start the game. The Charger defense would force Lewisburg to fourth down, but the Patriots would jump on the board when Elliot Helps faked a punt for a 65-yard touchdown run. The Patriots would add to their score in the second quarter with a Gunner Gilmore to Easton Fesmire 15-yard touchdown pass. Gilmore is committed to playing baseball at the United States Air Force Academy. The Patriots would extend their lead with a blocked Charger punt that was recovered by Eli Turner in the endzone.

“I was really proud of the way we responded. We talked about it with the guys on the sideline we can’t make it up all at once. We just have to play one play at a time and one drive at a time and focus on that especially offensively. When you fall behind, you think you have to make it up in one play, and you don’t have to,” said Oxford Head Coach Chris Cutcliffe.

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The Chargers would erase the 21-point deficit quickly with 3 long scoring drives to score 21 unanswered points. Michell Grandjean found Zae Lewis from 37 yards out for the Charger’s first points of the game. M. Grandjean would find Dane Harmon who ran it 56 yards for a score on the next drive. The sophomore quarterback would get in on the action the next drive when he ran it in from 54 yards out. The Patriots would answer back before halftime when Gilmore found Fesmire for an 80-yard touchdown to go up 28-21 after the Point after attempt.

The Charger defense allowed Gilmore to go 11-24 passing for 232 yards and one touchdown in the first half.

Oxford(6-3, 4-0 Region 1-7A) would not give Lewisburg many chances in the second half as the Chargers used their physicality to shut out the Patriots and run away with the game in the second half.

Oxford would start the second half by using a physical downhill running attack to move the ball down on the Patriot defense. The drive was capitalized by a Jay Brown 12-yard touchdown.

The Chargers would take the lead early in the fourth quarter when Brown broke two tackles and ran in from 31 yards out to make the score 35-28 after the point-after attempt. The touchdown was set up by a M. Grandjean to Levi Blount 31-yard reception to put the Chargers in Patriot territory. The Oxford offense ran for 178 yards in the second half. 110 of the rushing yards came on the physical running of senior running back Jay Brown. The Oxford defense would hold the Patriots to 4-11 passing for 78 yards in the second half after allowing 232 in the first half.

“A lot of credit to them. They came out firing on all cylinders and took it to us early. They played a lot better than we did earlier. You have to give them a lot of credit for that. I thought we did a great job of sticking to the plan and doing what we do,” said Cutcliffe.

Oxford finished with 556 yards of offense on the night. Mitchell Grandjean went 14-22 passing for 276 yards with 1 passing touchdown and 1 rushing touchdown. Grandjean threw one interception on the night. Jay Brown would rush for 133 yards and two touchdowns on the night after rushing for 110 yards in the second half.

Oxford clinched Region 1-7A with the win and a Hernando loss to Southaven. Oxford will host a playoff spot as the No.1 seed from Region 1. This is the Charger’s 11th time winning their region.