Trent Friedel | Exclusive to the Times
Saint Mary’s traveled to Oakdale Friday to face the Warriors and try and improve their 2-1 record against another higher classification program. The Tigers, coming off a victory against Menard to win the Bishop’s Bowl, needed almost all four quarters to secure the victory. Oakdale elected to onside kick to start the game. Saint Mary’s covered the kick, and the short field yielded a Tiger touchdown two plays later. Ben Bienvenu sets up the score with a 40+ yard reception from Parker to the Warrior 4 yard-line. Then Adam Parker scrambles right and reaches out over the goal line to score.
Payne Williams adds the point after and SMH leads 7-0 in early action. Oakdale goes three and out before punting to the Tigers. Saint Mary’s follows suit and punts back to the Warriors. The Tiger defense stands tall again denying the Warriors any significant gains. The offense marches into Warrior territory before the drive stalls and Tigers turn the ball over on downs. The Warriors have possession in the second quarter and face a second and 28 after back-to-back penalties. That’s when QB Dutton Dieterich hits Cedrick Allison over the middle on a set up screen. Allison does the rest and scores on the long run. Dieterich adds the point after kick and the score is tied at 7.
The Warriors again employ the onside kick and this time it pays off. Oakdale has the ball at the Tiger 47. Oakdale cannot capitalize on the short field and neither team is able to score before the half. The Warriors, having won the toss, elected to receive the second half kick. A penalty on the return backs the Warriors up to their own 5-yard line. A great third down defensive play by Williams to break up a deep pass forces the Warriors to punt. The short kick is fielded by Ethan Busby and advanced to the Oakdale 24.
The Tigers are set up in Warrior territory. They score on the second play from scrimmage on another Drake Griffin punishing run up the middle. The PAT is blocked but Tigers lead 13-7. Coach Aaron York gambles with an onside kick of his own but it is covered up by the Warriors. They advanced to the Tiger 8 when the defense comes up big with Logan Watson causing a fumble in the Warrior backfield and Graeme Fidelak scooping it up. An intentional grounding call and off-sides back the Tigers up and force a punt to Oakdale. Warriors, unable to make anything happen with a short field, return the ball to the Tigers as the quarter expires. Saint Mary’s leads 13-7 through three quarters of play.
On the first series of the fourth, SMH is backed up on their own 5-yard line after the punt and go three and out punting to the Warriors. Oakdale has the ball on the Tiger 32. The Warrior run game sets up a score by #6 Jamall Warnell from 6-yards out and the kick fails. Score now tied at 13. Busby returns the kick to the Warrior 46. Facing third and 9, Parker rolls left, then reverses field to keep the play alive and finds #8 Jayden Jackson across the filed for a 36-yard gain to the Warrior 9 setting up first and goal to go. First down false start. Second down and Parker pulls the ball from Griffin on a read option and trots in for the score. Williams adds the point after, Tigers 20 – Warriors 13.
Then it happened, the lights go out on the kick-off return. The field is black for an extended period of time before play resumes. On the third play after the light debacle, Warriors score on a 76-yard Allison run. The point after would have tied the game, but it is blocked, Tigers retain the lead 20-19. On side kick again by the Warriors with about 6-minutes of play remaining, Tigers cover it up. The teams trade punts and Tigers have the ball at the Warrior 44. Parker again pulls the ball on the read and runs 38-yards down the sidelines for the score. PAT good, Tigers 27 – Warriors 13. The ensuing kick is misjudged by Oakdale and it is recovered as a long onside kick.
An exclamation point 24-yard field goal by Williams with :50 seconds ensures the victory for the Tigers. Not the typical way to sing “turn out the lights, the party’s over” but it occurred none the less. Warriors won the stats battle but not the game. They had almost twice as many first downs and had total offense of 436 versus 252. Penalties and turnovers hurt the Warriors. Next up for 3-1 Saint Mary’s, DeQuincy at home.