#1 - Oxford @ Lafayette
Football 2002 - "He-Will-Not-Get-In!!!"
This was the last time Oxford won the Crosstown Classic at Lafayette. This year will be the 10-year anniversary of that game.
I was in 8th Grade when this game occurred. I was also in the Lafayette press box helping keep stats for the game with my dad who was doing Color for the radio and OHS Alum Richard Cross - currently does play-by-play for some CSS games - doing the play-by-play on the radio (and will do the play-by-play on Fox Sports South tomorrow night).
Oxford was coming in riding an 8-game winning streak after starting the season off 0-2. Lafayette was on a 9-game winning streak of their own after losing their first game of the year. Both teams were 5-0 in the division in which both were a part of the 2-4A division that year. This game would decide a LOT. Winning the division and the 1-seed for the playoffs, bragging rights for the year over your Crosstown Rival, home-field advantage for much of the playoffs. This game had a lot of meaning in terms of playoff-seeding, being known as Region 2-4A Champions for the year, and saying "I'm better than you" for a while.
This game - as expected - was evenly matched. It was tied 7-7 at halftime with both teams scoring on big plays. Oxford took the lead at 14-7 in the 3rd quarter. Lafayette eventually responded with a big 4th quarter drive and scored a touchdown to tie it at 14-14. Oxford tried for a late Field Goal but was short of the mark as time expired in regulation and the game went to Overtime.
For those that have not seen overtime in high school, it is just like the college rules except teams start on the opponent 10-yard-line instead of the 25 with the only clock running being the play clock and each team getting one timeout.
Oxford received possession first and managed to score a Touchdown in 2-3 plays. Oxford made its extra point try to lead 21-14.
Lafayette took possession and the Oxford defense held Lafayette to 4th & Goal before they were able to score. LHS Coach Scott Samsel (now the Head Coach at Olive Branch) decided to go for a game-deciding 2-point conversion to decide the game on a single play from the 3 yard line. Oxford called timeout to set up the defense to what they were going to run.
Many believed that the call was going to be a "Speed Sweep" to the wide side of the field - a play that has worked all night for Lafayette. Oxford sniffed out the play but the Lafayette Running Back, knowing what was at stake, gave a second and third effort but fell short of the goalline inside the 1. The entire Oxford team stormed the field in celebration as soon as the Lafayette RB hit the turf that was clearly short of the goalline.
Oxford's fan base was in chaos; Lafayette's fan base stunned and in disbelief to what they just witnessed. Oxford defeated Lafayette in OT 21-20 in a game where it was hard-fought, left nothing on the field, both teams extremely tired and gave the fans a game that will not be forgotten for a while (A "Classic"). This game defines what a rivalry is all about - it is for those such plays that decide a game.
Oxford would get to the 2nd Round to the playoffs and lose to Grenada at home and finish the year at 9-3. Lafayette would reach the 3rd Round and get knocked out by the same Grenada team. (Which means if Oxford had defeated Grenada, they would have faced Lafayette again - and the game would have been at Lafayette again)
There is nothing like beating your rival on a very close play like that. There is nothing sweeter than seeing your rival go down fighting. There is no other game like this one Oxford has played in the 21st Century that would top this top-ranked game in the Top 20 Games Countdown. Now watch the game tomorrow - WEAR OXFORD BLUE TO SCHOOL STUDENTS and see the Chargers stop the Commodores current winning streak they have going. If you can't make it, don't worry - it's on National TV this time! Not near a TV? Try 95.5 FM radio or is all else fails - follow me on Twitter @OxChargerSports.