Sporting the class 6A TSSAA State Championship moniker is a great thing during the regular season. The glory of the previous campaign’s success can put a little extra giddyup in the stride. But what does it mean when the playoffs begin? For the Oakland Patriots it means all business all the time.
A memorable 2021 regular season has seen the boys in red, white, and blue pass every test. And tested they were as private school heavyweights Christ Presbyterian Academy and David Lipscomb Academy were both knocked out in thrilling fashion during two of the rounds in the nine game fistfight. Outscoring the opposition 363-146 along the way, Oakland executed in all phases of the game.
Focused on becoming the second Rutherford County school to win back to back titles (Smyrna 2006, 2007) in Tennessee’s highest classification, the Patriot ground attack may be the key. With two runners that have averaged over 8 yards a carry, the battle-tested Oakland offensive line has developed as the season progressed. That has given both Jordan James (8.7 yards per carry 13 TDs) and Antonio Patterson (8.1 yards per carry 9 TDs) ample opportunity to spring free.
The running game has also been a great part of the defense as ball control allows the Patriot defenders to rest while the clock is controlled. When they are on the field, the Oakland defense has been big-play oriented. Defensive lineman Ethan McLaurin (23 tackles for loss) and Theron Gaines (24 tackles for loss) have been dominant at times. Spending more time in the opponents backfield than the backup fullback, these two strike fear in the hearts of offensive coordinators everywhere.
Taking nothing for granted, head coach Kevin Creasy has continued to cultivate a talented group since practice began in July. Now is the time to realize the fruits of all the hard work.
“Our guys have been fighting all year and this has been a team effort”, says Creasy. “We have a lot of determination in this bunch and now we have to make all the hard work pay off.”
Oakland opens their second season against Warren County on November 5 at Ray Hughes Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7 pm.