The Oakland vs. Maryville matchup was supposed to be an instant classic. On Friday night, however, the battle between Tennessee's 6A No. 1 and No. 2 teams ended up as a 38-0 lopsided for Oakland.
The Patriots drew first blood with a field goal early in the first quarter. When De'Arre McDonald returned an interception 40 yards for Oakland's first touchdown late in the second quarter, the momentum shift was noticeable.
On Maryville's next possession, Oakland's DeDe Anderson added an interception of his own. Senior running back Xavier Myers capped off the ensuing drive with his first touchdown of the night to give the Patriots a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Meanwhile, Maryville couldn't get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. Oakland completely dominated the second quarter.
But what the Patriots did in the second half was beyond domination. With a rainstorm brewing just to the west of the stadium, Oakland's offense slowly and methodically moved the ball down the field with a nine-plus minute drive that culminated with another Patriot touchdown.
Maryville turned the ball over six times. Their final interception of the night turned into another Oakland touchdown with 11:45 remaining in the game. With the score 31-0, the energy in the stadium was palpable. Fans, players, and coaches alike sensed something special was happening.
Even the downpour that finally settled in midway through the fourth quarter couldn't dampen the spirits of the Oakland faithful. In fact, when the game was over the fans ended up on the muddy, divet-ridden field celebrating the semifinal victory with their Patriots.
The Patriots hope to make a more meaningful statement next Thursday night in Cookeville when they take on Whitehaven (12-2) for the State Championship. The 6A Blue Cross Bowl will kickoff at 7 pm.