Local Sports, Sports, University

University closes season with 34-27 upset win over Oak Hill

OAK HILL – All season long Oak Hill has been making history.

On Friday night, the University Hawks swooped into John P. Duda Stadium and put a damper on the festivities, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns proving to be the difference in a 34-27 victory.

And like a Hawk flying through the Oak Hill nighttime sky, a 49-yard pass from Luke Hudson to Ethan Jackson on third down set up the game-tying touchdown and a key special teams play helped set up the go-ahead touchdown.

With Oak Hill up 27-21, the Hawks were squandering around on offense for most of the third quarter, when Hudson dropped back to pass. He rolled out eluding the rush and heaved the ball toward the end zone. Jackson came back to sneak in front of a Red Devils’ defender and pulled it in at the six.

A couple of plays later, Brock Kehler scored his third 1-yard rushing touchdown of the game to tie it at 27-27.

“That was the backbreaker,” University coach John Kelley said. “They had our number. They came out and took the lead (in the third quarter after University led 21-14 at the half). I didn’t think we could stop their running game; they are a very powerful running team. A very balanced team. (Oak Hill coach Davon Marion) has a heck of a team there. I thought that was the backbreaker. That crushed them. We got the score there and everything swung our way. We started playing better defense, and we forced them into something they didn’t want to do.”

On the next Oak Hill possession, the Hawks finally got a stop, and the Oak Hill punt was shanked, a key special teams play on a night when there were many.

Four plays later Hudson and Ethan Jackson hooked up on a 10-yard touchdown pass.

“We gave up more big plays tonight then we have since the Princeton game (a 42-28 loss Week 3),” Marion said. “(After the tying touchdown) we got a shank on the punt that probably went seven yards, and we couldn’t flip the field and gave them a short field. Some things didn’t fall our way and we just have to focus better, and I think our guys took a few lessons tonight and us coaches too. It’s not just the players. They gave us some different looks on offense and defense that we hadn’t prepared for, but that’s football.”

The Red Devils had two more opportunities, but an interception on the second ended it.

Down 21-14 at the half, Oak Hill came out smoking in the second half, an 80-yard drive that ate 7:11 off the clock and ended on a Malachi Lewis 1-yard touchdown run, his second rushing touchdown of the game, to tie the game at 21-21.

“I thought we were going to take the momentum and ride it on out,” Marion said. “We played a little keep away there.”

On the Red Devils’ next possession, J.D. Mauritz broke out of a scrum and raced 70 yards to give the Red Devils their second lead of the game, 27-21 after a slip on the extra point caused it to be blocked.

Mauritz had 117 yards rushing and went over 1,000 for the season.

“He’s been a. workhorse and he said that has been a goal since Day 1, to finally break 1,000 (yards),” Marion said. “I think he only had 400 last year. For him to get to 1,000 shows the work he has put in all season. I’m happy for the kid. He has a bright future and a lot of football left. Kudos to him for breaking 1,000 tonight.”

Things couldn’t have started any better for University.

The Hawks got a 39-yard field goal from John Coleman on their first possession.

On Oak Hill’s first possession, the Red Devils proceeded to go backward. Malachi Lewis was sacked on the first play of the game and a couple of plays later there was a fumble that was kicked around all the way to the end zone. A Red Devil fell in the ball in the end zone but was downed there for the safety and 5-0 lead.

Kehler returned the free kick to the Oak Hill 6 but Malachi Lewis recovered a fumble. The Red Devils then went on a 15-play, 93-yard drive to take a 7-5 lead.

“We had a great chance, we should have scored down there, we could have put it away early,” Kelley said. “Credit to coach Marion and his group, they came right back. He’s got some strong running backs. Number 4 (Mauritz) and No. 27, and the quarterback is a savvy player.”

The Hawks would come back and score two touchdowns, both 1-yard Kehler runs within two minutes of one another late in the second quarter.

The second was set up by a blocked punt.

Oak Hill scored with 6.8 seconds left in the first half, a 9-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Elijah Gray.

Oak Hill still finished 8-2, the school’s best regular season record since 2013. The University season ended 5-5.

Malachi Lewis was 15 of 23 passing for 129 yards and a touchdown and he rushed for 32 yards and two scores.

David Spaulding had 10 catches for 81 yards.

For University, Brock Kehler had 25 yards rushing and three touchdowns and Luke Hudson completed 11 of 19 for 175 yards.

By Dave Morrison/For The Register-Herald

University 34, Oak Hill 27
University         5      16      0     13    –    34
Oak Hill             0      14      13     0    –    27

First quarter 
U – John Coleman 39 field goal, 9:34
U – safety, OH tackled in end zone.
Second quarter
OH – Malachi Lewis 1 run (Jackson Pino kick), 11:18
U – Brock Kehler 1 run (Ethan Jackson run), 6:20
U – Brock Kehler 1 run Coleman pass from Luke Hudson, 3:49
OH Elijah Gray 9 yard pass from Malachi Lewis. (Pino kick), 0:06.8
Third quarter 
OH – Lewis 1 run (kick blocked), 4:49 
OH -J.D. Mauritz 70 run (Pino kick), 2:02 3Q
Fourth quarter 
U – Brock Kehler 1 run (kick blocked), 10:29
U – Ethan Jackson 10 pass from Hudson (Coleman kick), 8:21

Rushing – U: Josh Jorge 3-13, Luke Hudson 2-11, Melique Lewis 3-3, Brock Kehler 9-25-3, Ethan Jackson 4-5 OH: J.D. Mauritz 16-117-1, Lewis 13-32-2, Tyler Ashmore 3-34, James Green 2-6.
Passing – U: Luke Hudson 11-19-0-175-1 OH: Malachi Lewis 15-23-1-129-1
Receiving – U: Ethan Jackson 4-90-1, Brock Kehler 4-71, John Coleman 3-14 OH: David Spaulding 10-81, Armonyi Hicks 1-18, Carson Treadway 1-9, Mikey Spack 1-13, Zychaeus Lewis 1-(minus-1), Elijah Gray 1-9-1.