NORTH EASTON, Mass - It certainly was not pretty and they allowed a team to hang around when they could have turned it into a rout, but in the end a win is a win and the Tigers will take it.
Oliver Ames, the reigning Davenport Division champions, held on for a 14-6 win over Medfield of the Tri-Valley League on Saturday afternoon at Muscato Field in Easton. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead on two big scoring plays in the 1st quarter but the offense struggled against an increasingly confident Warriors defensive effort. The Tigers turned the ball over three times and turned the ball over on downs four times, including back to back possessions at the end of the first half that began inside the Medfield red zone.
The Warriors battled back into the game and with just over a minute left to play junior Tom Sears found sophomore Steven Ledogar for Medfield’s first points. The Warriors recovered the onside kick and drove for the game-tying score. With only 6 seconds remaining, OA forced a fumble on the goal line (the 5th forced turnover of the game for the Tigers) that was recovered by St. Clair Ryan to clinch the win.
Ryan, the senior running back, was also the Tigers’ star on offense. He rushed for 138 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown, but the bulk of his yards came on one run. On the second play from scrimmage, Ryan broke through the line and used his speed to burst down the sideline for a 61-yard score. The second OA touchdown came at the end of the 1st quarter on a halfback option pass from Reid Starr to Greg Cummings for 48 yards.
Following the game, head coach Jim Artz was disappointed that his team did not put away Medfield but knows that his young squad (the Tigers lost 21 players from last season) will learn from this.
The Tigers dominated all but the final three minutes of the game particularly with a strong defensive line effort. In addition to his offensive touchdown, Cummings also had three interceptions and OA consistently forced Medfield into 3 and outs. Junior quarterback Nick Cidado struggled at times and had two fumbles and an interception in the third quarter that allowed Medfield to build confidence.
“We come out of this with a win, but we need to coach better and play better,” noted Artz.
Another negative note for the Tigers was a 2nd quarter injury to senior captain and offensive lineman Dan Louko. He was clipped, apparently by one of his teammates, on a running play and was forced to the sidelines where his knee was wrapped in ice.
After halftime, one of the trainers said that the initial prognosis is a serious knee injury, possibly the MCL, and Louko could be sidelined for much of the season.