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Oakfield-Alabama survives tough Notre Dame squad

By Brian Hillabush

 The Oakfield-Alabama football team has had the luxury of giving the backups plenty of playing time in the first three weeks of the season.

Not so much on Saturday as the Hornets had their first test of the season in Notre Dame, not passing until the second half. O-A held off a late charge and won 28-6.

Tim Smith actually returned the opening kickoff just over 50 yards to the Notre Dame 29-yard line. Notre Dame's Craig Houseknecht sacked A.J. Kehlenbeck on a pass attempt, but a couple of mid-distance runs moved the ball down to the 2-yard line.

This was where the first half tone was set.

Oakfield-Alabama fumbled the ball away and Cam McDonald fell on it to give the Fighting Irish possession. 

After Kevin Schildwaster popped a 53-yard run, O-A had a sack and fumble that was recovered by Noah Seward.

Notre Dame's defense stiffened up and caused a three-and-out, then ND started moving the ball as Nick Bochicchio found Kevin Francis on a 24-yard pass.

At this point the Irish fans were thinking upset, while the O-A fans were starting to sweat with a 0-0 score after a period of play.

But the Hornets stopped ND's offense and forced a punt. Then Notre Dame returned the favor and made O-A punt.

With just a few minutes left in the first half, Smith took over.

He killed a Notre Dame drive with an interception, had a 24-yard run and then scored on a 6-yarder to make the score 7-0 at the half.

Notre Dame received the second half kickoff and was moving the ball. Bochicchio hooked up with Francis on a 16-yard pass, that was moved to the O-A 28-yard line because of a late hit penalty.

This time the Fighting Irish tried a halfback option that was intercepted by Smith at the 4 and returned to the 40.

Smith capped off this drive with a 21-yard TD run.

Oakfield-Alabama took firm control of the game after a Notre Dame punt when Smith broke a 31-yard run on a fourth-and-1. He scored just moments into the fourth quarter on an 8-yard run.

A Seward sack put Notre Dame into a fourth-and-very long deep in its own territory, so Matt Thompson had to come on and punt.

Smith had a 20-yard return and the Hornets started a drive at the ND 26.

Jason Stanley finished off the O-A scoring with a 21-yard run.

With just five minutes left, Bochicchio got hot.

He had completions to Francis, Schildwaster and Gianni Zambito before hitting Mike Pratt on a swing pass that he took 25 yards for a touchdown.

Derek Hicks blocked the extra point attempt.

The onside kick attempt was recovered by Cody Proefrock and ND was still alive with 3:41 left on the clock.

But a couple of plays into the drive, Hicks picked off a pass to put an end to the game.

Notre Dame falls to 2-2 and will play at Holley Friday nights as the Hawks are going to rent lights for their homecoming game.

Smith - who rushed for 185 yards on 25 carries - and the Hornets improve to 4-0 and move on to play in Attica next week for the Blue Devils' homecoming game. Then comes the annual game with Pembroke that always has Genesee Region League title implications.


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