The Oxford Chargers didn’t need a special comeback to win this time.
Oxford scored early and often in their 39-7 victory over the Lewisburg Patriots for Homecoming Friday night at Bobby Holcomb Field to extend their school record winning streak to 17 games.
It didn’t look for the first eight minutes of the game that Oxford (4-0, 2-0 in Division 1-6A) was going to run away from Lewisburg (2-3, 0-2) as the Chargers punted on their first possession and the Patriots were able to drive 60 yards on their first possession down to the Oxford 20, but Lewisburg’s 38-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
Both teams then traded three-and-outs, but Lewisburg’s three-and-out went backwards on their drive and their punt only went 12 yards, allowing Oxford to take a short three-play, 22-yard drive capped by a 3-yard Omar Howell run. After a made two-point conversion, Oxford led 8-0 with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
Lewisburg was unable to get anything else going offensively, going three-and-out, then had their punt partially blocked by Tristian Shorter allowing for a short two-play, 29-yard drive ending with a Trip Maxwell pass to DK Johnson from 31 yards to take a 15-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“I thought our linebackers played well and fit the run well,” Oxford coach Chris Cutcliffe said. “I thought our guys up front did a nice job. We set up our offense with great field position all night defensively and with our kicking game.”
After another Lewisburg three-and-out, their punt was completely blocked by Chris Herring who fell on the ball at the Lewisburg 5. Four plays later, Michael Harvey sneaked it in to give Oxford a 22-0 lead with 9:20 left until halftime.
“Huge play (by Herring),” Cutcliffe said of the punt block. “It’s something we put a big emphasis on is making a game-changing play on special teams and I was proud of us for doing that tonight.”
Lewisburg quarterback Gage Haley fumbled the ball inside Oxford’s 15 on the next possession and the Chargers fell on it at the 11. Two plays later, Maxwell found Jay Wortham from five yards out to extend the Charger’s lead to 29-0 with 7:30 left. After another three-and-out forced by the Charger defense, Oxford went on an eight-play, 52-yard drive, capped with Harvey finding Jay Wortham from 17 yards out for Wortham’s second touchdown reception and give Oxford a 36-0 lead. Jack Tannehill added a 30-yard field goal at the horn to give Oxford a commanding 39-0 lead at halftime.
“I thought we we finished drives well in the red zone tonight for sure,” Cutcliffe said after scoring just one touchdown in four red zone trips last week against Southaven. “I was proud of the way the defense played. I thought the first drive we had a few issues with some of our run fits but we got that corrected and did a nice job the rest of the night. I thought both quarterbacks played well tonight.”
Lewisburg would score with a Jason Hoffman two-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to prevent the shutout as a running clock occurred during the second half with the big Oxford lead.
Harvey finished 7-for-10 passing for 94 yards and a touchdown for Oxford. Maxwell finished 4-for-7 passing for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson had four receptions for 91 yards and a score. Wortham had four receptions for 54 yards and two scores. Lewisburg’s prolific run-game was held to just 57 yards on the ground and just four yards after the first Lewisburg drive where they gained 53 yards on the ground. Haley was 12-for-16 for 113 yards and a lost fumble. Hoffman led Lewisburg on the ground with 15 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Ellis Farese was named Oxford’s 2020 Homecoming Queen at halftime.
Oxford will travel to Desoto Central next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.