The Oliver Ames football team started off its season opener against Medfield with a red hot offensive attack and a stifling defense.
While the Tigers cooled off as the game progressed, the hot start was still enough to earn them a 14-6 non-league win at Muscato Stadium Saturday.
"I thought we were right on script in the beginning," Oliver Ames head coach Jim Artz said. "I knew what the first few plays were going to be; I thought they were going to be really good and they were. And then we just kind of lost that focus and didn’t finish."
On just the second play from scrimmage, OA runningback St. Claire Ryan outran a Medfield defense for 61 yards to the end zone to give the Tigers an early 6-0 advantage.
Later in the first quarter, after a strong Tigers defense forced the Warriors to punt twice, Artz opened the playbook.
Quarterback Nick Cidado hit backup quarterback Reid Starr (who was in the game as a wideout) on a lateral pass. After Medfield's defensive backs took the bait, Starr planted and hit a wide-open Greg Cummings for a 48-yard TD strike.
A completion to Tight End Sam Kelly for a two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
"We had practiced it all week," Artz said. "Very rarely would we want to run something if we didn’t practice it. So, it looked great all week in practice."
While the first quarter was rough for the visiting Warriors, coach Erik Ormberg was happy with the way his team responded for the rest of the game.
In the second quarter, OA was forced to punt once and couldn't convert on fourth down three different times.
The Warriors, however, struggled with turnovers. OA's Greg Cummings went into halftime with three interceptions.
"At halftime we went in and circled the wagons a little bit and we told them our conditioning was going to play a factor in the second half and I really thought on offense and defense we really kind of hammered them," Ormberg said. "We just really struggled with turning the ball over and we really struggled getting into the end zone."
Artz said two fumbles in the third quarter could be signs of inexperience on the Tigers' part. OA lost 21 seniors due to graduation last year.
"We’ve got a lot of players who haven’t had significant time before, so in this situation we can talk all we want about experience. We just don’t have it yet," he said. "They learned a lesson because we allowed a team, that in my mind we should have handled easily – we allowed them to hang around."
Medfield closed the gap in the fourth quarter, thanks to to the pass-catch tandem of quarterback Tom Sears and wideout Nick Ledogar, who connected from 14 yards out with 1:07 left in the game. After a failed extra point attempt, OA led 14-6.
Despite recovering the ensuing onside kick, time ran out for the Warriors, but Ormberg is optimistic with the way his squad played the defending
"We knew we were playing a team that was hungry and defending something that is very meaningful to all high school programs when they get there so they fought and I have a tremendous amount of pride in us moving forward given the circumstances today and the effort we got," he said.
OA will move on to play North Quincy on the road Friday at 4:30 p.m. Bedford is next on the schedule before OA gets into Hockomock League action against Franklin on Sept. 29.