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Oakley Dominates Conference Rival, Wins 1ADI Championship
The Hornets avenged a regular-season loss to their Snake River Conference foe
Published: 11/21/2020 7:58:21 PM
 

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For the first time in over a decade, Oakley High School once again reigns supreme among Idaho 1A Division-I football programs.

The Hornets (11-1) avenged a late-October loss to Raft River, taking down the Trojans 52-22 behind a dominant second half that saw Oakley outscore Raft River 28-6 for its first state championship since 2009. 

Football is a game of opportunity, and when opportunity came knocking, Oakley answered.

With the Hornets down 16-8 and struggling to get things going, Raft River muffed a punt and Oakley took over in Trojans territory. That was all Oakley needed, and from there it was all Oakley all the time.

It didn’t take long after the fumble recovery for senior quarterback Jace Robinson to find junior receiver Dace Jones, connecting for a 7-yard touchdown to even things up at 16.

Having seized the momentum, Oakley forced a punt on the next possession and drove down the field to try and take the lead before halftime. With 14 seconds on the clock, the Hornets took their first lead of the game, 24-16 on a goal-line sneak by Robinson.

That lead would never be relinquished.

Name-of-the-year candidate Thaine Loughmiller opened the scoring, as the junior running back took a counter handoff 55 yards to the house. The conversion was good and Raft River jumped out to an 8-0 start.

Raft River fell on a bad Oakley snap the very next possession in Hornets territory, and a few plays later Loughmiller powered through the A gap for his second score of the game and an early 16-0 Trojans lead.

It took nearly an entire quarter, but Oakley finally got on the board with just shy of 10 seconds to go in the first quarter when a one-yard touchdown run from senior running back Isaac Mitton and ensuing conversion cut the Raft River lead in half.

In a game befitting two elite eight-man offenses, two touchdowns were scored on the first three plays of the second half.

Raft River answered immediately on the very first play of the second half. Senior running back Ethan Bernad answered a house call, taking a carry 78 yards to the house. The conversion was no good, though, and the Trojans still trailed 24-22.

That’s when Oakley up and decided to run away with the 1A DI state championship game.

Benefitting from a failed Raft River onside kick, Robinson found senior running back Robert Wybenga two plays later for a 32-yard score that put the Hornets back on top 30-22.

Mitton scored a short touchdown a few minutes later to give Oakley its first two-score lead of the game, and not long after Mitton completed his hat trick, taking a pitch 25 yards into the end zone as the Hornets opened up a 44-22 lead.

Mitton’s third touchdown capped off a seven-minute, 20-0 run for Oakley that sealed the deal and delivered the Hornets their third championship in the last 14 years.

Robinson tacked on his fourth touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter, finding senior wide receiver Austin Cranney for a 20-yard score to put the Hornets over 50.

The state championship game capped off a dominant playoff run in which Oakley outscored its opponents by an average of 43 points per game in the postseason.

 
 


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