HILLSBORO – Inspired by their past, the Oakland Oakers created their own legacy Saturday in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 2A football final at Hillsboro Stadium.
The top-seeded Oakers, with three assistant coaches who played on their last state title team in 2012, started fast and rolled to a 46-32 win over No. 7 Weston-McEwen/Griswold.
Senior Cade Olds rushed for 243 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and senior Cole Collins completed 4 of 7 passes for 157 yards and two scores as Oakland (12-1) won its 11th in a row.
It’s the Oakers' second title in 13 seasons under coach Ben Lane, who guided the 2012 team to a championship win on the same field.
“It’s way different, but there are so many similarities,” Lane said. “Just the energy. There’s a lot of that blood on this team. You’ve got those three coaches that all won a state title here, and what they put into this.”
Assistant coaches David Henry, Ryan Comstock and Logan O’Hara helped connect the team to the championship past.
"I remember when I was a little kid, those were the guys we looked up to," Collins said.
Henry, a former all-state running back and linebacker, rushed for 263 yards and five scores in the 2012 final. He became a role model for Olds, who transferred to Oakland from 2A North Douglas as a junior.
“It’s crazy to have David Henry and these coaches come back and coach us,” Olds said. “He’s a big inspiration. He’s taught me almost everything I know.”
Oakland avenged its only loss of the season, a 24-16 defeat at Weston-McEwen in Week 2. The Oakers were unable to hold a late lead in that game.
“We kind of had an extra chip on our shoulder, knowing they beat us in Week 2,” Olds said. “But that was kind of the message in the locker room. They came back last time and beat us, so we definitely knew to keep going until the fourth quarter. They almost came back, but we held strong.”
Lane said the loss was a turning point.
“These kids did what they set out to do after that loss to Weston-McEwen,” Lane said. “They were like, ‘Coach, we’re going to win state.’ At that time, Weston-McEwen was No. 1. So I think it kind of gave them a measuring stick of where they were.”
Olds was the driving force for Oakland’s offense this season, rushing for 1,629 yards and 32 touchdowns.
“He’s just downhill, runs hard, doesn’t quit,” Collins said of Olds. “He doesn’t complain, doesn’t get tired. He just love to play the game.”
Early in the game, though, it was the mere threat of the run that opened up big passing plays for the Oakers
Collins threw a 35-yard pass to sophomore Gabe Williamson on the game’s first play, setting up a 25-yard touchdown run by junior Jacob Chenoweth. On Oakland’s next series, Collins tossed a 49-yard touchdown pass to junior James Baimbridge to make it 14-0.
“The last game, we didn’t pass real well,” Collins said. “We changed a lot in our offense and it just really opened everything up. They weren’t really expecting it. They were loading the box and weren’t really prepared.”
Lane said his team didn’t pass much this season only because of its ability to run.
“Cole Collins is a hell of a quarterback,” Lane said. “We know he can throw, so we wanted to keep them on their heels and try to keep them out of the box.”
Olds and Collins scored on one-yard runs as the lead grew to 34-6 late in the second quarter and stood at 34-14 at half.
The TigerScots (9-3), runners-up in 1964 and 1996, wouldn’t go away. They fought back behind sophomore quarterback Easton Berry (13 of 22, 161 yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore running back Maddox King (19 carries, 137 yards, one touchdown), but weren’t able to seriously threaten the Oakers.
“Every game we start slow,” Berry said. “If we didn’t have that slow start, I don’t know, maybe we could have won. We didn’t give up. We kept fighting.”
Weston-McEwen coach Kenzie Hansell praised his players.
“I told them at halftime, ‘We have 24 minutes, how do we want to be remembered?’” Hansell said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way our players fought. They love to play football. What a great season, for being third place in our league and making it to the state championship.”