Winning ugly or losing pretty. Given those choices Thursday night at Walker Valley, the seventh-grade Ocoee Middle School Colts chose the first. In a football game where the defense and special teams carried the game, OMS defeated county rival Lake Forest 30-6.
The Colts defense forced three fumbles, had multiple stops of zero or negative yardage and held the Bruins to only three total yards in the game. Unfortunately, the Colts also committed eight penalties for 65 yards and lost two of three fumbles on offense.
Lake Forest started the game losing a yard rushing on the first play. On the second play of the game the Bruins back was stripped of the ball which was recovered by the Colts Jacob Buckner.
The Colts took control with a five-play drive that ended with Avery “A-Train” Jones going in from 22 yards out. Kyler Lynn tacked on the 2-point conversion and Ocoee led the visiting team 8-0.
The Colts’ defense turned in a three-and-out with a four-yard tackle in the backfield by Dalton Selvidge and then a 12 yard QB sack by Tyler Carpenter.
After the Lake Forest punt, the “A-Train” pulled into the station on the very next play as Jones went around the end for another 22 yard score. Lynn complemented the TD again with yet another 2-point conversion and the home standing Colts led 16-0 with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter.
From that moment until halftime, neither team would flex their muscles as the next 12 combined plays for both teams ended in ruins. Lake Forest picked up two penalties and three plays of negative yardage. Ocoee picked up two penalties and one play for no yardage. Both teams each lost a fumble. The coaches were glad for the halftime horn as the score settled at 16-0.
Unfortunately for the Colts, the second half picked up where the first ended with three penalties for 20 yards and a turnover on downs. Lake Forest tried to use the OMS misfortune and capitalized by picking up their first first down of the game with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter. Two more penalties against the Colts fired up the Bruins even more. Then, with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter, Lake Forest took a broken play 33 yards to the house. The 2-point conversion failed but the Bruins had hope as they now only trailed 16-6.
The Colts dashed all those hopes, however, on the kickoff as Jones went 74 yards for the kickoff return touchdown.
After a missed 2-point conversion opportunity, OMS led 22-6 with two minutes showing in the third quarter.
Lake Forest missed on a pass play and Selvidge and Canaan Bennett turned in back-to-back plays in the Bruins’ backfield, forcing yet another punt.
Ocoee wasted no time as fullback Kyler Lynn worked his way down the field on the very next Colt offensive possession, going 44 yards for the score. Tyler Carpenter would tack on the 2-point conversion and OMS led 30-6 with 7:50 remaining in the game.
Defenders from the Colts continued working in the backfield of Lake Forest as Tristan Williams pulled down a Bruin eight-yard loss. Brice Gibson and Bryson Bradley sacked the Bruin QB 2 yards deeper. Lake Forest was forced to punt once again.
Ocoee fumbled twice on its next three plays losing the final fumble. Lake Forest took over and ran the clock out. The final score was OMS 30, Lake Forest 6.
Coach Ricky Henry, while pleased with the win, had some concerns after the game.
“We didn’t play crisp Colt football tonight. Without a shadow of doubt we have some issues that will be worked out. We need to have all these players on the same page, disciplined and ready to play,” he said.
When asked about the way special teams and defense played, Coach Henry responded, “We did really well with that aspect. We had set some team goals and did accomplish most. We wanted to force some turnovers and we did. We wanted to limit their yardage and we did. We wanted to score on special teams and we did,” he stated. “There’s one thing this team needs to understand though, we have ourselves a football game Tuesday night at Rhea County. If both teams bring their best game, which we both should, it will be a very exciting night for football at Rhea County.”
The Bruins ran 23 plays from scrimmage for a total of three yards. Ocoee produced 152 total yards on 22 plays. Jones had six carries for 68 yards and three scores. Lynn finished with seven carries for 62 yards, one touchdown and two 2-point conversions. Carpenter finished with 12 yards and one 2-point conversion.
The next action for the seventh-grade Colts will be Tuesday night at Rhea County. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Both teams bring in perfect records for the matchup.