GALLATIN - The mighty Oakland Patriots took to the road for their final preseason tune up, trying to polish up any blemishes on a seemingly perfect preseason.
Traveling to the Wave Yard, the Patriots walked away victors 14-7 over Class 5A Gallatin Friday night.
Until Friday night no offense had been able to score on the Patriots defense, but the Wave first team offense marched down the field with an impressive 13 play, 70 yard touchdown drive on their first and only series of the game.
“We wanted to come out and do what we are good at and that is run the football and be physical up front,” Gallatin head coach Chad Watson said.
Highlighting the touchdown drive was senior running back Spencer Briggs who had four touches for 45 yards, including a 32 yard screen catch-and-run to the Oakland 8-yard line.
James Mason capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to give Gallatin a 6-0 lead early.
Place kicker Trace Kelley nailed his only extra-point attempt of the game for the 7-0 advantage.
“I wanted to see the mentality to line up and compete against an elite program like Oakland,” Watson said of his team’s first drive. “When you look at middle Tennessee the first football program people talk about is Oakland. I’ve known Kevin [Creasy] a long time and everything they do is first class and we are trying to get to where we can compete against teams like that.”
The defending 6A champions responded, and responded quickly on their opening drive of the game.
Tim Pannell and Victor Stevenson got the bulk of the carries as the two backs drove Oakland 70 yards on seven plays which was capped on a Pannell 25-yard touchdown run.
Michael Turks tied the game at seven on the extra-point.
The Wave immediately pulled their first team players on the next offensive series while the Patriots decided to keep their varsity players in. The talent disparity showed as the Green Wave never crossed the 50-yard line.
Oakland took the lead for good on their next series on a 25-yard touchdown run from Stevenson with seven minutes remaining in the game.
“We wanted to polish some things up tonight,” Patriot head coach Kevin Creasy said. “We are definitely not in midseason form and still have changes that need to be made. That said, we realize the most important thing for us tonight was to come out and compete and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.
Coach Creasy and his Patriots are looking for another gold ball to bring back home to Murfreesboro and says if his team can stay hungry and humble through the 2019 journey they can give themselves a real shot at doing so.
“We’ve got some non region games to get us ready for our tough region schedule,” he said. “We’ve got to be hungry and humble at the same time and realize this thing is a marathon and not a sprint. All that said we are looking forward to our first game at Hendersonville. They gave us a tremendous challenge last year and I know our guys have a lot of respect for them.”
For the Green Wave they open the 2019 season at home against the Lebanon Blue Devils, a team that will come to the Wave Yard with plenty of confidence.
“We know Lebanon is going to come in here with a lot of confidence,” Watson said. “They have a lot of kids coming back on a team that won eight games in 6A. We need to come out and do good things early.”
Officially the Wave will end the preseason 3-1.
During the four-game stretch Gallatin has continued to get better with every snap and continues to impress opposing coaches.
“I thought Gallatin did a nice job of competing tonight,” Creasy said. “Give credit to Gallatin for not being intimidated or scared. This reminded me of the old days of Gallatin vs. Oakland back when it was a huge rivalry. This brought back a lot of good memories for people and I think coach Watson and his staff is doing a good job.”
Both Oakland and Gallatin will kick off the 2019 season Friday, August 23 at 7 p.m.