Four in a row or first in school history? Which would it be? Houston and Oakland met in the 6A state championship game Saturday night as the Patriots looked to four-peat and the Mustangs were trying to win their first. In the pouring rain two high powered, extremely athletic, rushing offenses clashed in Chattanooga.
Oakland looked imposing on their first drive just as you would expect the Patriots to do in the title game, as they stopped Houston and Mr. Football finalist, Duane Morris, scored on a patient cutback run to give Oakland an early lead. The PAT was missing but Oakland had struck first.
It was then that the rain and wet ball started to become an issue for both teams, causing operational issues and back and forth turnovers in the first half with lose balls.
Houston responded well to the Patriot drive with a long drive of their own, showcasing the speed and athleticism they had in their backfield. They capped off this drive with a touchdown pass from Chandler Day to Shawne Jones. The PAT was good and the Mustangs had a one point lead.
At the end of the first quarter that would remain the score with Oakland looking to answer. Houston forced the Patriots to punt out from underneath the shadow of their own goal post and disaster nearly struck as the snap was high and heading for the endzone but the Oakland punt made a great play on the ball and stopped it with a full extension reach over his head, corralled the ball, and go the punt away.
It was now Mustang ball and running back, Damon Sisa, passed 100 yards on the night with a run on this drive with 10 minutes to go in the half, and he was just getting started. Houston moved the ball all the way to the redzone before the Oakland defense held strong and forced a field goal that Houston converted and the score going into the half was 10-6 Mustangs.
Both teams were going to have to find ways to deal with the weather as they were both being affected by it but first things first both teams needed more points. Oakland got just that with a much-needed field goal after a drive fully leaning on Duane Morris who handled the work load with ease taking the ball on just about every play on a long drive and making it look easy.
That drive, along with the ensuing Houston drive, took up the entirety of the third quarter. As we went into the fourth and final quarter of not just the game but the 2023 season, Houston and Chandler Day had worked the ball all the way down to the one-yard line
Damon Sisa started the fourth quarter by finally scoring a touchdown after dominating the game to that point. How would Oakland respond needing a TD and two point conversion?
Oakland leaned on what got them there with Morris and the run game but Houston shut it down putting them in a 4th and 4 situation deep in their own territory
A fake wildcat throw over the top was the call. It was there. It could’ve even been a touchdown, but the ball was overthrown. Houston now had the ball at the Oakland 26
The Oakland defense stood tall and forced a field goal attempt that would push the Houston lead to 11 with
The Patriots still had life. Could they capitalize?
Houston answered that question quickly by forcing and recovering a fumble near midfield.
After Oakland forced a 4th down Houston went for the jugular with a fake punt but it was unsuccessful giving Oakland 50 yards, two timeouts, and 1:40 to tie the game. A first down sack and used timeout is exactly what the Mustangs needed and got. Oakland, having to throw the ball, looked completely out of whack and in desperation Kyler Creasy while being sacked tried to make something out of nothing and threw the ball directly into the arms of a Houston defender that returned it for a pick six, securing Houston’s first ever state championship.
Oakland’s quest for 4 in a row came up short, and Houston is your 2023 6A champion by a final score of 24-9