Oak Forest hands Greenwave first loss of season

Published 1:13 am Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oak Forest High School’s Dylan Dover intercepts a pass intended for Cathedral High School’s Dee Fleming during a game Friday. Oak Forest won the game 44-27. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Oak Forest High School’s Dylan Dover intercepts a pass intended for Cathedral High School’s Dee Fleming during a game Friday. Oak Forest won the game 44-27. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Head coach Ron Rushing and the Cathedral Green Wave wanted a true test before postseason play begins, and they got one Friday from Oak Forest.

Both teams were undefeated entering the contest, and it was a hard-fought battle until the final whistle, but the Yellowjackets (9-0) got the best of the Green Wave (7-1), taking the game 44-27.

“That is why I put them on the schedule,” Rushing said. “I knew we would be the underdog about every time we play them, but we wanted to get somebody in here and see what we had. It was about getting better and getting on a roll this time of year.”

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Oak Forest started the game on a roll, scoring 14 points on their first three offensive plays.

On the second play of the game, Oak Forest running back Kaylin Stewart scampered in from 54 yards out to give the Yellowjackets an 8-0 lead.

After a Green Wave punt, Oak Forest struck on the first play of their next possession. This time, Jeb Malley broke off an 82-yard touchdown run and gave the Yellowjackets a commanding 14-0 lead with just less than three minutes ticking off the clock.

But the Green Wave weren’t going to back down.

Quarterback Wyatt Boothe led a spirited drive down the field on their next possession, and he finished it off with an 8-yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half.

The teams would continue to duke it out as they entered the second quarter and closed in on halftime.

Cathedral had an opportunity to strike late in the second after driving down to the Oak Forest 19-yard line. Boothe appeared to be heading for the end zone, but fumbled just shy of the goal line. The fumble was recovered by the Yellowjackets in the end zone, and the teams went into the half with Oak Forest up 14-7.

However, the Green Wave had the Yellowjackets on their heels.

“Absolutely, I was extremely worried,” said Oak Forest head coach Jason Brabham of going into halftime. “We had to do a gut check there.”

But Cathedral would come out of the half and hit Oak Forest right in the gut, as Dee Fleming rumbled in from 19 yards out to tie the game at 14.

But, like they did all night long, Oak Forest answered. On their second play of the ensuing drive, quarterback Tyler Hasson took off right up the middle and scored from 42 yards out, putting Oak Forest up 20-14.

Cathedral would spark up some magic of their own late in the third, when Boothe took a deep shot down the field looking for Jardarius Anderson. Anderson was able to reel in the pass and score from 43 yards out to give Cathedral their first lead of the game at 21-20.

The Green Wave would continue to roll and appeared to snatch all the momentum when Boothe scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, running it in from three yards out to push the lead to 27-20.

But that woke up Oak Forest.

The Yellowjackets raced down the field on their next drive with Stewart plunging into the end zone from 3 yards out to cut the lead to one.

After a Boothe interception, Oak Forest took just two plays to find the end zone again and take the lead, with Hasson breaking three tackles and scoring from 24 yards out.

After a misplayed kickoff return, the Green Wave stared their next drive at their own 6-yard line, and three plays later, Boothe was sacked in the end zone for a safety, and Cathedral was behind 36-27.

Oak Forest would cap the scoring on the next drive with Stewart scoring his third touchdown of the night on a 12-yard run. Stewart finished with a game high 186 yards rushing.

Even though the Green Wave suffered their first loss of the year, Rushing was pleased that his team didn’t lie down after falling behind early.

“I was proud of our guys,” he said. “They came out and hit us in the mouth, but our guys showed a lot of gut and character. They battled back. We were ahead of a really good football team late in the ball game.”

The Green Wave also impressed their opponents.

“Hats off to Cathedral,” Brabham said. “They’ve got a good football team, and they played our socks off. That game could’ve gone either way, and we just happened to make the plays when we had to make them.”

Boothe led the way for the Green Wave on offense, rushing for 45 yards and two scores and also completing 28 of his 44 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown.

Anderson also had a big night, hauling in 10 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

But the name that seemed to be called the most was Robert Hargrave, who was constantly wreaking havoc in the Oak Forest backfield, racking up tackle after tackle and even recovering a fumble.

“Robert was dominating the game,” Rushing said. “From the middle of the first quarter to about the first of the fourth, he was getting off his blocks. He’s one of the best linemen I’ve ever coached.”

The Green Wave will now turn their attention back to district play as they head to Salem.

“I think we’ll be good, but I want it to hurt a little bit,” Rushing said. “If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t mean anything. We’ve got to get focused on Salem. They are a big test, and we want to go in and play well.”