Pringle scores 3 TDs in 54-19 thumping of Oxford
● By Richard Gaw
As game time approached on Monday evening, the setting sun that shone on Oxford Area High School's Homecoming reflected off of the marching band tubas, and the black, white and maroon balloons looked resplendent along the fence that separated the field from the stands. There was a feeling of pageantry in the air, due largely to the fact that the football game between Oxford and Bayard Rustin had been postponed twice because of Hurricane Joaquin, and was now about underway.
The only problem was that Rustin didn't travel to Oxford for marching bands and balloons.
Highlighted by three rushing touchdowns by sophomore running back Tyrone Pringle, the Golden Knights pummeled the Hornets 54-19 in a Ches-Mont League game dominated by Rustin's ground game, which ran roughshod over Oxford from whistle to whistle.
After its first possession of the game stalled, Oxford punted, and the ball deflected off the punt returner's leg and was seemingly recovered by Oxford at Rustin's 25 yard-line. However, the call was reversed, and behind quarterback Evan Wlock, Rustin drove 75 yards for their first touchdown, when running back Alex Rotelli scored on an 8-yard run with 6:46 left in the first quarter.
Oxford got on the board in the second quarter on a 70-yard drive nicely orchestrated by quarterback Dan Green. The drive got its biggest break when Green tossed a ten-yard strike to wide receiver Michael Williams in the end zone, only to have the play broken up by Rustin linebacker Tim Durant. Durant was called for pass interference, which put the ball on the three-yard-line. On the next play, Green plunged over the goal with 7:37 left in the half.
Pringle's first touchdown on Rustin's next possession – a five-yard run with 5:45 left in the fist half – was set up by a 41-yard run by Pringle that got the ball within the Oxford 20 yard-line. With 2:31 left in the first half, Pringle plunged three yards for his second touchdown, which gave the Golden Knights a 20-6 lead at halftime.
As the third quarter got underway, Rustin tacked on another touchdown before Oxford even had a chance to settle into the second half. Using good field position from a kick-off that was returned to the Oxford 35 yard-line, Pringle and Wlock traded off runs, ending with a one-yard keeper by Wlock that gave Rustin a 27-6 lead.
"Sometimes we don't have a sense of the moment and we're too much of a roller coaster instead of remaining even keel through a game," said Oxford head Coach Mike Means. "We were down two scores at a halftime with a chance to get a stop. We have to seize that moment and get that back. Sometimes when we get two scores, you see heads goes down, and we can't have that."
Rustin, who amassed 332 rushing yards – including 177 for Pringle – also used its aerial attack effectively throughout the game. With 7:49 left in the third quarter, Wlock threw a 29-yard touchdown strike to running back Brandon Frazier to give Rustin a commanding 34-6 lead, one that was slightly cut into by a 57-yard TD run by Oxford running back Tim Davis with 4:19 remaining in the quarter.
Less than 30 seconds later, Pringle scampered 71 yards for his third touchdown of the game.
Green answered Pringle's run with a 29-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Connor Hilaman to round out Oxford's scoring, with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rustin rounded out its scoring in the fourth, on Rotelli's seven-yard run with six minutes left, and a 60-yard interception run by safety Nick Benoit with five minutes left. The win moves Mike St. Clair's team to 3-2 on the season, as it prepares to face Great Valley on Oct. 9.
Despite the loss, which dropped Oxford to 1-4, Means said that his team remains resilient, an intangible that he believes will help them this Friday against Unionville.
:"I love the fight of my kids," he said. "We have a scrappy group, but we're losing guys left and right, but we can't use that as an excuse. That's what it's going to be the rest of the year and our guys have to realize that some of us aren't coming back. We have to scrap and claw for the rest of the season."
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail email@example.com.