Oxford coach John Grass came to see what he called “a glorified scrimmage,” a chance for Oxford’s defense to spar against McAdory’s double-wing offense. The Yellow Jackets will see a lot of it in their season opener against Georgia power Carrollton next week.
Based on what the coach came to see, Oxford’s 23-7 victory was a mission accomplished. Oxford’s first-team defense weathered a 19-play drive to record a first-half shutout against McAdory’s first-team offense.
McAdory, a Class 5A semifinalist the past two years, tried to turn 6A Oxford’s speed into disadvantage. The misdirection worked to keep McAdory’s offense on the field for 37 plays in the first half, but it didn’t work well enough to score.
If Oxford does as well against Carrollton next week, then the Yellow Jackets have much to look forward to this season.
Such was Grass’ takeaway.
“It was just good to play a half and not get anybody hurt and get to play that offense,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to see next week, so I know it was going to take a half to catch up to it.
“I feel good about where we got with it.”
Those who came to Lamar Field seeking clues that Oxford can have a breakthrough season against a murderous, all-6A schedule likely left unfulfilled.
The two teams played their first units through a scoreless first half.
McAdory came the closest to scoring, reaching Oxford’s 1-yard line on a 19-play drive before botching a fourth-down snap. Two Oxford penalties — pass interference and offsides — aided the drive.
Later in the first half, McAdory gave the home crowd a collective gasp when Anthony Steele broke uncovered deep down the visiting sideline but dropped a likely touchdown pass.
Oxford’s first drive looked promising, but the Yellow Jackets lost the ball on downs at McAdory’s 23-yard line.
Grass shrugged off Oxford’s scoreless first half because the Yellow Jackets’ first-team offense spent a lot of time watching. McAdory ran 15 more plays.
The highlights came with subs in the game in the second half. Oxford scored on Gary Mason Jr.’s 69-yard touchdown run, Joshua Montgomery’s 8-yard run, Joseph Mcguire’s 5-yard run and Michael Mcleroy’s 37-yard field goal.
Oxford’s young running backs showed explosiveness and elusiveness. Mcguire and Bobby McCain showed flashes during their turns at quarterback.
From start to finish, the Oxford defense’s spar with McAdory’s niche offense looked promising.
But at the risk of reading too much into a jamboree, something was lacking.
One would expect a playoff-level 6A team to show more separation against even a good 5A team. It didn’t show when the starters for both teams played in Friday’s first half.
For Oxford, it’s all 6A foes from here.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 235-3576 or email@example.com.