Who's playing: Oxford (0-0) vs. Grenada (0-0)
Where: Bobby Holcomb Field @ OHS
When: Friday, August 17th @ 7:30 PM Kickoff
How can you keep up?: 95.5 FM Radio, OxChargerSports Twitter Account, Channel 97 on Monday (Tape Delay), Maxpreps on the Oxford High Football page (Game WILL be Qwixscored), Oxford Score Updates page on this website
The lowdown: This is the Season Opener (like many schools across the state) for both teams. Both teams are coming off losing seasons and did not make the playoffs. Oxford went 5-6, losing its last two to not make the playoffs last year while Grenada after a 4-1 start to the year last year finished down the stretch with a 6-game losing skid to finish at 4-7.
Last year Grenada defeated Oxford 16-15 and ended in controversial fashion. The scoreboard at Grenada was not working and therefore the clock had to be kept on the field. Oxford believed to have had plenty of time left on the clock when they started their last drive.
On Oxford's first play, QB Parker Adamson threw an incomplete pass, which stops the clock in any league. Oxford then received a delay of game penalty that cost them five yards, and because it was a 'dead ball' foul (a foul prior to the snap of the ball), the clock does not restart on the "ready for play" whistle because the previous play stopped the clock. Right before Oxford snapped it for the next play, the whistle blew and the referee called the game - meaning the clock they kept on the field ran out of time despite the fact the clock should have never moved prior to the snap because of the incomplete pass on the previous play. The game was already out of control as two players had been ejected in the game and this made it much worse. Several OHS Coaches was on the field rightfully angry to the fact that the clock should still have time and were never notified that it was THAT close to expiring.
While the game ended without Oxford given the proper chance to comeback in that game, Oxford did not perform very well in the game. The reason Grenada got the lead was that Oxford blew their pass coverage twice on an earlier Touchdown pass and the second 2-point conversion play that allowed Greanda to get ahead of OHS in the end. Also in that game, OHS used 2 QB's as a QB battle between Adamson and William Elliott were fighting for the starting job which was won by Adamson. Elliott eventually quit the team after having suffered many injuries throughout his football career and did not want to risk another injury playing football that could keep him out of baseball. The QB battle hindered the OHS offense in the passing game as neither could be consistent at QB. Oxford only scored one TD on offense - a rushing Touchdown - in that game (the other was on a punt return).
For Oxford to win they must: Make sure the scoreboard works this week - I'm kidding (kind of). They must though execute on offense - Adamson had an easy time last week making his throws in the hurry-up offense and Jarius Barnes was able to get yards rushing when they ran the ball, especially in the red zone. Barnes is no Mont Dean but with the passing game much improved it appears from last year, the running game will open up every now and then since the running game is not as main of a focus as it was last year. Oxford will score more than 15 on Grenada this year.
The defense must not blow coverages - it did not hurt them last week against Shannon in the Jamboree but there were 2-3 times last week where a WR for the Red Raiders got behind the defense and was open to make the catch. The throws just simply weren't there for them to make a play on to really hurt Oxford. It did hurt them last year against Grenada both in the air and on the ground. Grenada's QB Payne Horan broke through the OHS Defense several times last year and ultimately scored on a big run. Oxford did not cover a receiver on the ensuing PAT that turned into 2 points and gave them the lead. If the front 7 plays smart like it did last week, the running game should not pose a problem. It'll only be a problem if Oxford makes it so.
For Grenada to win they must: Destroy the scoreboard before anybody catches them - again I'm kidding. But they must keep a cool head. Horan was the player that did get ejected last year against Oxford and tended to start some pushing and shoving. The last thing any team needs is to have their leader get ejected (and ensuing suspension for the next 4 quarters) because he has a hot head. If Oxford gets out in front, they cannot have their attitudes get to the best of them.
Defensively they must stay on their toes. Oxford's offense has improved vastly and it will not be as easy of a time like it was last year. Oxford has many weapons Adamson can throw to and can do so in a hurry as quick as he is able to get rid of the ball. Grenada will also notice that it will not be as slow of a tempo as it was last year either. They must keep Adamson from getting a rhythm or it will be a long night for the Grenada Chargers.
Weather: 7:30 PM: 78*F, Isolated Thunderstorms (30% Chance) - Winds From NNW @ 4-5 MPH. Temps will dip to 72*F by 10PM. Rain Chance will be consistent throughout the night, bring weather gear. Check Weather.com's Hourly Forecast (by clicking "Hour-by-Hour" link below) for Friday Night for changes in the forecast, they are updated hourly.
Other notes: Grenada will be without their stud WR and Ole Miss commit Trey Bledsoe who suffered a broken collarbone in practice two weeks ago. He did not play a pivotal role on offense last year getting just 2 receptions for 3 yards and was expected to have more of a role this year, but he did give the OHS offense fits at Cornerback. Bledsoe had both interceptions Grenada had in the game last year (one against Adamson, the other was on a failed trick play).
This is the first of a 3-game homestand to open the season for Oxford.
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