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Oakfield-Alabama overcomes illness and turnovers

By Brian Hillabush

 The Oakfield-Alabama football team didn't start a lot of the usual names because of a flu that kept several players out of practice this week.

They also didn't do a very good job of keeping the ball from hitting the ground.

But the Hornets did just enough to beat host Attica 35-20 Friday night.

It was senior night for the Blue Devils and a couple of seniors gave the squad a very quick lead. Andy Ruddock busted off a 21-yard run and Nate Berry hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from junior Brandon Rollins to get things going, just 1 1/2 minutes into the contest.

O-A blocked the extra point.

The Hornets didn't take very long to answer as Tim Smith returned the kickoff 34 yards and Josh Athoe made his mark.

Athoe hasn't played in any high school game since getting injured at the start of last baseball season, but got the start at fullback in this game.

The 6-foot-2, 185 pound junior busted off an 11-yard run that set up his 12-yard touchdown run, with the Jon Fisher giving Oakfield-Alabama a lead that would never go away.

Ruddock ripped off a 30-yarder on Attica's next drive, but Chris Williams sacked Rollins to kill a drive and force a punt.

The Blue Devil defense did its job by stopping the Hornets on a fourth-and-2, but the offense fumbled the ball away on the first play of the next drive.

Athoe kicked off the second quarter with a 9-yard TD run, giving O-A a 14-6 advantage.

The Hornets got the ball back after an Attica punt and moved the ball through the air, with A.J. Kehlenbeck hooking up with Noah Seward and Tyler Tamblin on passes before finding Brad Riner with a 4-yard touchdown pass with just 17 seconds left in the half.

Tim Smith - who finished with 162 rushing yards on 20 carries - started the second half scoring with a 20-yard TD run.

Attica then started making a comeback.

Rollins hooked up with Shawn Dupuis on a 44-yard pass that moved the ball all the way down to the O-A 1, where Rollins scored on a keeper. The conversion pass failed and Oakfield-Alabama led 28-12.

Just seconds ticked off the clock before Kyler Dabolt popped the ball out of an O-A runners hands and Berry picked it up, scampering 62 yards for a score. Rollins ran in the conversion and Attica had cut O-A's lead to 28-20 near the end of the third period.

And then Smith stepped up again. Last week he earned Class C Offensive Player of the Week in a win over Notre Dame, and he stepped up with the big play this week.

The senior busted through the line and busted off a 52-yard run. He scored a couple of plays later from eight yards out.

As Attica tried to drive, Kehlenbeck had a big interception to kill a much-needed opportunity. 

The Hornets fumbled the ball away again, and had a couple of penalties that put the Blue Devils into great position to score.

On a third-and-goal from the Oakfield-Alabama 11, Seward picked off a pass to wrap up the victory.

Athoe rushed for 83 yards on 16 attempts and Riner gained 110 yards on 24 carries. Kehlenbeck completed 5-of-6 pass attempts for 50 yards.

 Attica falls to 3-2 while O-A improves to 5-0 and will be hosting currently unbeaten Pembroke next Friday night.


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