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Oxford spoils #7 Clarkston homecoming with 20-17 victory (Story by: Terry Foster)
Oxford wide out Joseph Miller is like many wide receivers. He is always chirping in the ear of quarterback and best friend Drew Carpenter that nobody on the field can cover him.
It was no different Friday night against powerful Clarkston during Oxford’s 20-17 upset victory which spoiled Clarkston’s homecoming and delayed the Wolves from being crowned Oakland Activities Association Red Division champions.
Miller doesn’t get many opportunities to shine in the ground and pound offense at Oxford known as Bud Ball. That’s the offense of choice of old school coach Bud Rowley whose offensive play book features yellowing pages pulled from Bo and Woody.
Senior Caleb Tabert ran the ball 11 times for 105 yards, senior Trent Myre (103 yards on 21 carries) did most of the damage inside while Carpenter scampered for 67 yards.
“We were strong and physical tonight,’’ Rowley said. “These kids always believed in themselves. We go on from here and the sky is the limit.”
Oxford pounded the defending Division I champion all night. The game was close only because Clarkston’s Josh Luther returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
“We got our asses kicked,” said Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson.
Clarkson players sensed something was wrong even when they were ahead. The Wolves knew Oxford wasn’t going away and players reminded each other to keep spirits high.
The words of Miller rang in Carpenter’s head as he rolled left from the six yard line with 7.1 seconds remaining and Oxford trailing 17-13.
“I can beat this guy. I can beat this guy.”
Miller finally got his chance on the fourth pass play inside the red zone with the final seconds ticking off the clock on a play called 7, 5, 4. The loss was not fatal to Clarkston (6-1, 4-1) who remains in sole possession of first place, because second place West Bloomfield also lost its homecoming game to Southfield A&T.
However, Richardson has seen troubling times brewing for a while. He believes his team lost its edge following a home victory over West Bloomfield a few weeks ago. Perhaps players thought they were unbeatable. Since then there was a close call against Southfield (30-21) and the loss to Oxford.
Oxford jumped to a 10-3 lead late in the second half but made the critical mistake of kicking to Luther twice, although both were squib kicks. After Oxford went up 10-3 he returned the kickoff 80 yard for a touchdown as time expired in the first half.
He began the second half with an 86 yard kickoff return touchdown to give Clarkston a 17-10 lead that it nursed for much of the second half. Both times Luther scooped up bouncing balls, found a seam on the right side of Oxford’s kickoff coverage and took it to the house.
“I am very happy right now,” Rowley said. “Any time you can beat this team that is huge. These coaches do a great job, they have the entire community behind them and they have great athletes.”