SEVIERVILLE — Dominant defense.
That is the easiest way to sum up Oneida’s 19-0 win at Northview Academy on Friday night.
In earning their second shutout of the season, the Indians (4-1) allowed the Cougars (2-4) only 13 yards of total offense, including -9 rushing yards. Northview Academy crossed the 50-yard-line only twice — with one of those times being on the final possession of the game, after the outcome had been conceded — and the Cougars only picked up two first downs that weren’t via penalty.
Oneida’s offense sputtered at times. Despite moving the ball well between the 20s, the Indians failed to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities, which kept the game undecided until midway through the fourth quarter. However, the Indians finished the game with 258 yards of offense, putting touchdowns on the board in the first, second and fourth quarters.
Rylin Duncan finished with 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries, while TJ Meredith had 65 yards on 11 carries.
Caden Rector used a dink-and-dunk approach to the passing game to finish 13 of 23 for 80 yards.
The Indians led 12-0 at halftime, after Elijah Phillips scored on a 1-yard plunge late in the first half. That’s the way the score would stand until late. Midway through the fourth quarter, Northview Academy conceded defeat by sending on its punt unit on fourth down. A bad snap resulted in the Indians taking over on downs at the 9-yard-line, and Oneida added a touchdown for good measure when Duncan scored from 11 yards out.
The game marked the first time this season that Northview Academy has been shut out.
The fact that the game was competitive until the middle of the fourth quarter belied the lopsided nature of the game, which was dominated by Oneida’s defense.
“We played hard,” Indians coach Jimmy May said afterward. “I thought we had a couple of chances there in the second and especially in the third quarter to put it away. We kept getting behind the chains a little bit. It’s hard running in there with their big linemen in there, but we gotta get on that next week and get better at that.”
Oneida had a dropped pass in the end zone that would’ve been a touchdown in the third quarter, and a questionable fumble in the red zone in the fourth quarter.
“I still don’t think we fumbled,” May said. “But (the officials) wouldn’t listen to me tonight.”
Oneida only punted one time. Part of that was because the Indians attempted conversions on four different fourth downs.
“I just thought we could make it,” May said. “I don’t want to ever give them the ball on our side of the 50, but I took a chance to see if we could keep the momentum going.”
May said his team is improving week by week, as the Indians get set for an important region showdown with Rockwood at Jim May Stadium.
“We’re a young team,” May said. “I don’t know if people realize that, but we are. Even though some of them are seniors, we’re a young team. But we’re getting better each week. I can see it, and hopefully we’ll put it all together here soon.”
May said his kids have the right approach.
“I don’t want to jinx it, but so far we have a great attitude. We have a lot of kids that compete for playing time and they’ve done a great job of taking their turn. They cheer for each other, and we’ve grown since that first game (against Williamsburg).”