"Respect the Hill" is the slogan Center Hill High School has adopted. The Oxford High Cheerleaders answered with their run-through sign "Respect OUR Hill" (or Hills really) - as in respect Oxford Head Coach Johnny Hill, Offensive Coordinator Stan Hill and Defensive Backs Coach Jake Hill. It was booed off almost immediately by the Center Hill Student Section.
Oxford's Hills and their players toppled the Center Hill Mustangs (1-4, 0-1 in 1-5A) 40-27 to start region play on the right foot. The 10th-ranked Oxford Chargers (5-0, 1-0) got off to a quick start and never allowed Center Hill to catch up all game long.
Oxford started off moving the ball fairly easily on the Mustang defense but was halted when OHS QB Parker Adamson under-threw a pass to Toler Presley and was intercepted. Center Hill QB Jacob Marsh would fumble the handoff on the very first snap following the pick; Oxford would fall on it at the Center Hill 15. Oxford would cash in on the short field with a Conrey Meagher 1-yard run. Cody Mills would hook left the PAT to keep the score at 6-0.
Center Hill was able to get a big play to their stud WR D'Marius Gillespie - the state's leading receiver in receptions - to reach Oxford territory, but a bad pitch on an option play allowed Oxford to fall on the ball. Oxford would respond 2 plays later with a strike to Glen Gordon and out ran the Center Hill secondary for 76 yards. Mills would convert the PAT and would do so the rest of the night to lead 13-0.
Well...no, Oxford showed that it cannot prevent the big play. Center Hill was able to pop a 73-yard rush to get back into the game. The fake PAT was overthrown so the lead was cut to just 20-6.
The ensuing Oxford possession, Adamson made a rare bad decision and threw an interception straight to the Center Hill safety. The Mustangs would be able to cash in. The PAT was good to cut the Oxford lead to 20-13.
After back-to-back stops by both defenses, Oxford was able to drive the ball down to the Center Hill 29 but stalled out. Cody Mills was able to kick a Career Long 46-yard Field Goal to increase the lead to 23-13 with 32 seconds left before halftime.
The ensuing kickoff was an onside kick attempt that Oxford was able to recover on a well-executed kick that went high in the air and landed square on the 50-yard line and even took a couple extra yards after that before anyone was able to touch it. Oxford fell on it and was back in business. Oxford was able to drive it to the Center Hill 30 but the Mustang defense came up big and sacked Adamson and kept the Chargers off the scoreboard going into halftime with Oxford ahead 23-13.
During halftime, Center Hill received a rare Delay of Game penalty because the Center Hill band took too long to perform their halftime routine. The 20-minute halftime clock expired before they left the field. After Oxford forced a 3 & out, the Chargers moved the ball with ease, helped out with Personal Foul Face Mask and Pass Interference penalties on the drive. Gordon was able to punch it in from 7 yards out and the lead was back out to 30-13 early in the 3rd.
The Mustangs were not done yet. Center Hill was able to drive it to the Charger 23 but faced a 4th & 3. Not only were they able to convert but were able to score on a 23-yard pass play to make it 30-20 after the made PAT.
Oxford late in the third would drive it to the Center Hill 8 but even after a Pass Interference Penalty on 3rd Down against the Mustangs, Oxford could not punch it in after 6 plays inside the Mustang 10. Mills would slice right a 27-yard Field Goal but a running into the kicker penalty allowed him another chance. Mills would be able to convert from 22-yards out to increase the lead to 33-20.
Oxford would convert another onside kick which was argued by the Center Hill head coach - who was plenty hot already from all the penalties he saw go against his team in the 3rd quarter alone - and earned an unsportsmanlike penalty allowing Oxford to start at the Center Hill 35. The drive would spill over into the 4th Quarter where Jarius Barnes would punch it in from 4 yards for a put-away Touchdown to go up 40-20.
The Chargers were able to get a few stops and allowed the 2nd-stringers and even some Freshmen who were along with the Varsity team for the first time this year some playing time. Center Hill would get a late Touchdown on the second-string team to make the final score 40-27.
Oxford will face the New Hope Trojans at Bobby Holcomb Field next Friday. Center Hill will travel to Lake Cormorant.