The one-two punch of running backs Samuel Langston and Carlton Williamson coupled with a stout defensive unit led football to an 18-0 victory over non-league opponent Medfield High School Friday night to open the 2011 season.
“Sam Langston has matured, both him and Carlton [Williamson],” said OA head coach Jim Artz. “They showed that we can bring in either and have success.”
Not only did the Tigers find success with their two seniors back, they found their offense as the Langston and Williamson combination consistently found holes in the Medfield defense and set the tone of the game early.
On OA’s first possession, Langston ripped off a 45-yard run to put the ball on Medfield’s nine-yard line. Williamson took the ball on the next play and found the endzone to put the Tigers up 6-0 just three minutes into the game.
“Sam shoulders the load early and Carlton gets his number [called] and cashes in two,” Artz said. “We called him the vulture all night.”
Williamson’s second score came in the second quarter from 16-yards out. The 5-foot-9 running back created space in the middle of Medfield’s defense before shifting left and hurdling a Warriors’ defender for paydirt. The two-point conversion failed but the Tigers took a 12-0 lead into halftime.
Medfield struggled offensively throughout the night, in large part to the dominating play of the Tigers’ defensive line, which showed depth with an eight-man rotation.
“The defensive line did a great job,” Artz said. “I think we have four outstanding linebackers and I really like our defensive backfield so it’s kind of like, pick your poison and tonight, we didn’t give them much in the first half.”
Medfield had just 11 yards passing and 31 rushing yards on just 20 plays at the half. The Warriors had an opportunity from two-yards out to get into the endzone after Tigers’ quarterback Jared Schneider threw his first of two interceptions, but OA’s defense stepped up and shut the door.
“Medfield had the ball at the two-yard line and ended up at the 25-yard line when it was done,” Artz said of his defense’s effort.
The Warriors showed improvement early in the second half, sustaining a long drive after forcing OA to go three-and-out on its first possession of the third quarter, but the Tigers’ defense turned it up again and stalled every drive it faced.
“At the start of the second half I felt like we kind of let them get back in there for a little bit with a couple of first downs and then we kind of had to stiffen up again,” said Artz. “All in all, I was extremely happy with the defense. Kids did an excellent job executing everything we asked.”
Langston put the nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter when he scored on a 30-yard run to put OA up 18-0.
“It was good to see Sam get his in as well,” Artz said.
From there, it was just a matter of winding down the clock and chalking up the first victory of the 2011 season.
“[Getting the first win is] huge,” Artz said. “If you get the first ‘W’ it takes all the pressure off. Granted, it doesn’t mean anything because it is a non-league game, but now we can just play football.”
Medfield head coach Erik Ormberg said he expected his Warriors’ head coaching debut to be a challenge.
"We scheduled these guys [OA], we knew they were good, we know they were going to be tough and that’s going to help us later in the season," said Ormberg.
Despite the shutout victory, Artz pointed out some areas he wants to see his team improve on.
“[Offensive line] could be better,” Artz said. “I felt like after that first drive we kind of thought this is going to be easy and we backed off a little bit with the intensity where we should have kept at it a little bit harder and kept the tempo. … I would like to see us throw the ball more efficiently. I obviously didn’t like the three turnovers, two of them being interceptions because that hurt but the defense rose to the occasion.”
OA (1-0, 0-0) opens at home next week, hosting North Quincy on Sept. 16. Medfield (0-1, 0-0) travels to Wrentham to take on King Philip on Sept. 16.