Oak Grove jets past Pembroke Hill
By Tyler Brown The Examiner
Once again it seems a Pat Richard coached team is hitting stride by the end of October as Oak Grove came out of the gates dominating Pembroke Hill in the first game of the playoffs.
The Panthers had a 28-point lead by the end of the first quarter and each of the first six drives resulted in touchdowns. Those six touchdowns gave Oak Grove a 42-point lead before the 7-minute mark of the second quarter. The junior varsity squad took over from the next drive on as the Panthers beat the Raiders 56-20 Friday night.
“It goes back to last week,” Richard said. “I think the second half of the Excelsior game we woke up for the first time all season to be perfectly honest. We played with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity. We did that the first half.”
The Panthers only threw the ball only twice all night, but that was all they needed from the passing game as a combined 10 rushers tallied 440 yards on the ground. The lead rusher was sophomore Kenton Wilhoit, who only needed eight carries to run for 144 yards and four touchdowns. Wilhoit almost averaged 20 yards per carry as the Panthers averaged nearly 9.7 as team.
Richard was a tad uneasy with how the second-team defense came out, allowing 20 points and 188 yards in the second half. The Oak Grove first-team defense however, allowed 34 yards, forced six punts, two turnover-on-downs and one fumble in the first half.
“Defensively, I thought we did a great job flying around, being physical,” Richard said. “We're getting back into the flow. Playoff time is the time we've turned it on in the past. I sense that with our kids again.
“We got to get a little more excited with our younger kids when we're in there, not just kind of play out the string, but make something happen.”
However, the Panthers did not win every phase of the game. Oak Grove's special teams struggled as the Raiders recovered a kick off that bounced by a Panthers returner and a muffed punt. With the team's next opponent likely being against an undefeated Hogan Prep team, Richard knows his team needs to come out sharp for 48 minutes.
Oak Grove Panthers
Platte County Pirates
Jefferson County North
Grain Valley Eagles
Missouri Military Academy
North Platte Panthers
St. Joseph LeBlond Golden Eagles
St. Joseph Central Indians
Father Tolton Catholic