Pioneers Fall in Playoff Decider

Alex Verdelus, Sports Editor

Oak Ridge came up short towards the end in Thursday’s playoff deciding game in a rugged 27-13 defeat against Olympia. The loss eliminated the Pioneers from playoff contention.

Oak Ridge came in with high energy and motivation to secure their chances for a playoff spot and captured a modest 13-12 lead coming into the fourth quarter, but mistakes on both sides of the ball in the second half doomed the Pioneers, with two late touchdown surges by the Titans to retake the lead.

Blunders on the offensive side really affected the tempo of the game, with a fumble on the Pioneers in middle of the fourth shifting momentum over to the Titans and allowing their running game to take advantage of the tired Oak Ridge defense.

“One of the things that made them win and us lose was our mistakes”, said Senior Guard Verlin Peterson. “We sometimes beat ourselves at our own game and little mistakes turn into big turnovers.”

The Pioneers had a chance to tie the game late, but a 48-yard pick six by Titans Cornerback Audrey Hawkins stretched the lead to two touchdowns and sealed the game.

With the loss the Pioneers record now stands at 3-6 on the season.

Junior running back Marcus Taylor had an exceptional showing, with 117 total yards rushing on 17 carries and a 40-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Senior tight end Anthony Miranda also  provided a spark for the offense, scoring both Pioneer touchdowns on goal line runs and a 37-yard reception.

Oak Ridge will play its final game of the season on Nov. 4 at Lyman high school.