What?: Second Round of the MHSAA 5A Playoffs
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Friday, November 20th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio with Don Brooks and Denny Tosh on the call, Bullseye955.com audio on the internet, @OxChargerSports Twitter account (Link: HERE), thru the iScore Gamecast HERE (use ID 5038B9B22A for entry if needed) and the iScore Central App on Apple devices HERE (download the app for free using that link, which will send you to the Apple App Store, after downloading and starting the app, search Oxford and/or Germantown for the game)
The Lowdown: Upset weekend was last weekend. South Panola lost to Madison Central in a rematch of an earlier game this year. New Mexico beat Boise State despite being 30-point underdogs. Arkansas beat LSU at night in Tiger Stadium and took the boot home. Ronda Rousey lost her first MMA fight after winning her last three in less time than it did for me to type out the start of this blog post.
Oxford nearly fell into that trap themselves but was one of the few that survived the pit trap.
The Chargers were tied at 21 at halftime and had to climb out of a 14-point hole to get there. The Chargers stiffened up and force three turnovers (turning into 14 points) and two three-and-outs to end the threat of having the season end extremely premature in comparison to what they were expected to do.
Oxford and the Germantown Mavericks have never faced each other in football, this being their first ever meeting. Germantown only became a school around five to six years ago, splitting up Madison Central's district essentially. Oxford has faced Germantown in Baseball twice in two three-game series and swept them both times in two games, including last year en route to Oxford's State Championship last Baseball season.
Germantown is a well coached team, having made the playoffs last year but getting ousted by West Point. This is a dangerous team that will have some running backs returning for next year. The team uses as many as four backs plus their quarterback but mainly uses a two-back system. One carries twice as much as the other and in total has almost 3,000 rushing yards on the season, close to 240 yards per game. That's enough to do some damage.
They are roughly 75/25 run to pass. When they do throw it, they can be effective thanks to their running game. Their quarterback, Michael Allen, completes 55% of his passes which is not too bad. He also owns a 5-to-2 ratio TD-to-INT. This team scored 38 points per game. That's enough to worry plenty of opponents.
If they score 38 points, that can worry Oxford. Oxford's offense is well known by now with this group, and this Maverick defense that allows 20+ PPG and has given up 47, 42, and 34 points this season. The 47 was to Clinton who has a bunch of playmakers, just like Oxford does. They are arguably facing the best quarterback they have among the 13 teams they have faced in Jack Abraham. Germantown does have a DB worthy of being D-1 and he will likely try to single cover DK Metcalf.
Oxford's defense will be facing their tallest task of the season stopping this offense. Among all the teams they have faced so far, this team has been the most productive in 5A - including West Point. Oxford cannot rely on their offense every single game to win, that is a big reason why Oxford has yet to win the State Championship in two tries so far. Oxford's defense NEEDS to start stronger than it has in its last four games against Clarksdale (trailed 7-3), Center Hill (trailed 14-6), Lake Cormorant (trailed 12-7), and Vicksburg (trailed 21-7). Oxford did though outscore those four 50-6, 48-16, 49-14, and 28-0, with the defense getting stronger as the games went on.
Oxford does have this game at home. That will certainly help. The Oxford defense needs to set the tone in this game early, not later. If that happens against a team - say, West Point or Laurel - it may get to be too much. The Chargers need to put this to bed early or we may eat Thanksgiving with our families instead of with the Football team.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Have Other Wide Receivers Make Plays - That Starkville game under the bright lights of ESPN? That was the experience part of it. Now here is the second go-around. In the Starkville game, there was about 10 drops by wideouts from Oxford. It's time to make plays besides DK Metcalf who will be in a 1-on-1 battle all night.
Make A Statement On Defense - Oxford needs to start stronger on defense than it has lately. If the mentality is that the Chargers get stronger on D as the game goes along, then starting strong will end this game quicker and allows the offense to have a mistake or two. Not even Oxford's offense is perfect.
For Germantown to Win, They Must: Win this Game Defensively - They have the single DB to help slow down the passing game. The next question is being able to pressure Abraham. If the Maverick front-line can create pressure on the veteran Oxford offensive line, that will create problems.
Establish a Run Game Lasting Four Quarters - If Oxford's last four games are any indication, they get stronger defensively. The Mavericks really need to establish the run game twice. Once to start the game, once to start the second half. If that happens, trouble will brew throughout the night.
Other Notes: Oxford and Germantown has never met in Football. The teams have never met in the regular season in any sport, but have met in the playoffs in Baseball (twice) and Soccer.