HomeUncategorizedOneida passes and kicks its way to homecoming win over Northview Academy

Oneida passes and kicks its way to homecoming win over Northview Academy

ONEIDA  |  What seemed unthinkable for years — decades, even — is becoming increasingly apparent with each passing game:

Oneida is a passing school.

The Indians, passing partly because of injuries at the running back position that have left them short-handed, and passing partly to take advantage of skill at the skill positions, have more passing yards than rushing yards this season, and it happened again in a 24-21 win over Northview Academy on Friday.

Junior quarterback , who earlier this season became the first Oneida passer in two decades to throw for 200-plus yards in a game, did it again against the Cougars, completing 13 of 19 passes for 216 yards. 

But when it mattered, Oneida’s rushing game came through. The Indians had only 62 yards on the ground all night, and averaged only 2.2 yards per carry, but all three of their touchdowns came on the ground. 

Ultimately, though, the biggest play of the night wasn’t a run or a pass, but a kick. booted a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give the Indians the three-point win on homecoming night at Jim May Stadium.

Northview Academy had managed to answer each punch the Indians threw all night, but wouldn’t have an opportunity to get the ball back to try to match Barna’s field goal. 

The Cougars tied the game on a 19-yard touchdown pass with just 39 seconds remaining, then inexplicably kicked the ball short on the ensuing kickoff. That gave Oneida the ball at midfield, and a couple of Rector completions moved the ball into field goal range. That was complimented by a 15-yard face mask penalty that helped get Barna close.

When Rector needed to throw, senior Jeric Huling was his favorite target. He had five catches for 120 yards, and played a key role in each of the Indians’ four scoring drives.

“We made plays in the passing game tonight,” Oneida coach Jimmy May said afterward. “That’s our strength. We’ve got a lot of skill out there.”

For all the talk about offense, though, the game was largely a defensive battle. It was scoreless until the final three minutes of the first half. Oneida broke through with a short run by Weston Hurst, but Northview Academy blocked the PAT. 

The Cougars then scored with only seconds remaining in the first half, using a 16-yard run by Jabriah Atha to take the lead.

The third quarter saw Caden Rector score on a five-yard keeper, then add the two-point conversion on another keeper. 

Northview Academy again answered, scoring on a nine-yard run by Nick Schroth early in the fourth quarter to tie the game.

Rector scored again on a quarterback sneak to give the Indians a 21-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter, and Oneida had an opportunity to salt the game away after that. But Northview Academy forced and recovered a fumble, setting up the DJ Thompson to Kerim Durmaz touchdown strike as the seconds ticked down.

Jimmy Kuznicki’s PAT appeared to set up overtime. But, in spite of having a strong kicker, the Cougars kicked the ball short on the ensuing kickoff. Oneida took over at midfield, and it didn’t take long for Rector to move the ball into field goal range.

Oneida then put the ball on the ground, appearing content to put the ball in the center of the field for what would have been a field goal attempt in excess of 45 yards. Hurst was ripped down by his face mask, however, moving the ball to the 15-yard-line for Barna’s game-winning kick.

“When we got the ball at midfield I knew we had a chance because Luke is good out to 45 yards,” May said. “I was just trying to get it close enough to give him a shot at it.”

May complimented his team for fighting through the efforts of an improved Northview Academy team.

“They made some plays but I never saw anybody drop their head,” he said.

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