If we turned back the clock to early August there were serious questions about any type of high school football season. And a playoff was even more in doubt. But thanks to the concentrated efforts of many, we were able to witness a remarkable run by the Oakland Patriots (15-0) all the way to the class 6A state title.
When dissecting the 2020 campaign, “run” is the operative word for a school that claimed it’s second state title under current coach Kevin Creasy (2018) and fifth (1984, 1998, 2008, 2018, 2020) in school history. A believer in the basics, the sixth year Patriot leader adopts to the “pass to score, run to win” philosophy. After running roughshod over the opposition through a regular season where the smallest margin of victory was 16 (Warren County), Creasy and his crew continued to sport their New Balances. Making like Usain Bolt, the Patriots pounded Rossview, Mount Juliet, Riverdale, and Maryville in the first four rounds of the playoffs by a combined score of 186-38.
Their outstanding “run” was completed on December 5 in the TSSAA class 6A BlueCross Bowl in a 56-33 beat down of the Brentwood Bruins. In fitting fashion, Oakland amassed an incredible 468 yards rushing in the contest and averaged 10.8 yards per carry…that’s right we said “averaged”.
Make no mistake, Brentwood coach Ron Crawford brought his bunch in ready to play. The Patriots, however, were just too powerful. Four carries in particular encapsulate Oakland’s fleet-footed foray to another gold trophy.
On the opening drive of the contest for Oakland quarterback Ian Schlacter surprisingly dropped back to pass on third down. It looked as if the Bruins had him trapped, but a pump fake and 33 yards later it was first and goal Patriots and the stage was set.
Junior running back Jordan James flat toted the mail in amassing 230 yards with six scampers to paydirt. His second trip to the end zone was an 81-yard juke and jive jaunt that answered a Brentwood touchdown and made everyone aware of the lethal Patriot playmakers.
James struck again in the second quarter. After closing the gap to 28-12, Brentwood held hopes a stop would have them right back in the game. Up jumped James with a 59 yard flash to the promised land. Breaking tackles and then leaving defenders in his wake, even MC Hammer would have been dazzled by this dance.
As the third quarter ticked away, Brentwood again found the end zone and held on to some hope. Having held Oakland scoreless in the second half and seemingly able to stop the ground game, there was a flicker of hope. Back to back penalties appeared to stall the Patriots, that is until Schlacter likened himself to Carl Lewis. Scrambling out of the pocket, the senior signal caller weaved his way through traffic. Some 33 yards later he landed at the Bruin 5 yard line setting up the final score for his running buddy Jordan James.
“Jordan James is one really special player and all I can say about his performance is WOW,” says Creasy. “Those runs by Ian Schlacter were huge momentum changers for us at critical times when Brentwood had a full head of steam. He’s a great story because for the last three seasons he was the long snapper for us. He hung in there and waited for his chance to play quarterback and then made the most of his opportunity.”
For those scoring at home, junior running back Antonio Patterson ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the BlueCross Bowl as well. On the season Oakland rushed for over 3500 yards and averaged 8.8 yards per carry. All that sounds like it was a pretty good run for Oakland in 2020.
“This one is really special when you consider everything,” says Creasy. “We weren’t even sure if there would be a season but to the credit of the TSSAA and a lot of others it happened. We have a really good coaching staff at Oakland and our kids were able to do the right things throughout the entire season. The staff kept them focused and I am very proud for our school and all those involved.”