ORANGE PARK– Devon Outlaw busted loose for 274 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but Bartram Trail scored on all five of its second half possessions to pull away from Oakleaf 49-33 in the …
ORANGE PARK– Devon Outlaw busted loose for 274 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but Bartram Trail scored on all five of its second half possessions to pull away from Oakleaf 49-33 in the Knights’ home finale on October 22.
Their second straight loss drops the Knights to 4-4, 1-2 in District 1-8A play. The win clinches the district title for the Bears, now 7-1, 3-0.
Outlaw was motivated by a chance to see how he measured up against Eric Weatherly, the Bears’ do-everything offensive weapon. The junior hammered into the line 35 times, averaging 7.8 yards per carry while displaying power, cutting ability and speed.
Outlaw opened the scoring on a fourth down from the Bartram Trail 49 yard line, darting straight up the middle, breaking a diving tackle attempt by Bears’ safety Bryce Johnson and sprinting the rest of the way to the end zone. Drew Ammon’s point after gave Oakleaf a 7-0 lead with 2:08 remaining in the first quarter. Outlaw scored from a yard out to push the Knights’ advantage to 14-6 in the second quarter and added an eight yard touchdown run in the third quarter as Oakleaf tried to keep pace with Bartram’s potent offense. Until the fourth quarter, no other running back had carried the ball for Oakleaf.
Oakleaf head coach Frank Garis likened Outlaw to a bulldog.
“He [Outlaw] knew that Bartram’s running back is committed to Duke and that they have three guys on defense committed to Division I schools, so he wanted to put on a show,” said Garis. “He carried us.”
Outlaw was playing in just his third game since an injury sidelined him for the first five games of the season, and is playing his way back into shape. As impressive as he was, Weatherly was equally impactful with fewer touches. The Bartram senior rushed for 85 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries, caught three passes for 43 yards and another touchdown, ran for a two-point conversion, and set up a Bryce Padron field goal with a 31 yard punt return.
“He is electric, and he has been that way since he got there,” Garis said of Weatherly. “They line him up all over the field— running back, quarterback, wingback, the slot. You have got to know where he is, and plan accordingly.”
The attention the Knights paid to Weatherly allowed open running lanes for Bartram quarterback Riley Trujillo, who finished with 146 rushing yards on 10 carries and added two passing touchdowns.
The Knights enjoyed a 12-5 edge in first downs and a 213-148 advantage in total offense in the first half, but a botched Oakleaf field goal attempt and the Bartram field goal resulting from Weatherly’s punt return allowed the Bears to enter the intermission tied at 14.
The teams combined for 54 points in a fast-paced second half. Neither team punted, and the first five possessions ended in touchdowns. Bartram Trail led 35-27 after Trujillo found tight end Eli Sutherland wide open over the middle for a 48 yard catch-and-run with 10:50 remaining in the game. A critical sequence then dashed the Knights’ hopes for an upset.
On the second play from scrimmage after Sutherland’s touchdown, Outlaw was stood up and fighting for extra yardage when Bartram linebacker Dylan Chiedo stripped the ball loose and recovered the fumble at the Oakleaf 25 yard line. On the next play, Weatherly took a handoff and went wide left, tight roped up the sideline and cut back inside the five to reach the goal line. Padron’s point after put the Bears up 42-27.
“It was huge,” Garis said of the game’s only turnover. “Against an offense like that, if you give them extra opportunities, they are going to take advantage of it.”
Oakleaf drove inside the Bears’ 10 yard line on the ensuing possession. On third and goal from the six, Knights quarterback Drew Ammon slipped down behind the line of scrimmage and was jumped on by a Bears defender. Ammon said something to the defender, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. On fourth and goal from the 23 yard line, Ammon was sacked by Bartram’s Chiedo and Segree Graham, turning the ball over on downs.
Garis was not pleased with the penalty called on Ammon.
“Drew called him a name,” he explained. “Instead of calling a penalty on the guy who hit Drew in in the head while he was a defenseless player in a prone position, they called it on our guy.”
Two more personal fouls against the Knights helped the Bears put the game away on the ensuing drive, a 77 yard march capped by William Bryant’s four yard scoring run. Oakleaf was penalized 15 times for 111 yards in the game.
Ammon, who completed 22 of 38 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, tossed a one yard pass to senior tight end Justin Day on the final play of the game.
Oakleaf, whose only chance to make the Class 8A playoffs now rests with getting an at-large berth based on its power ranking, faces a critical game at Creekside (6-2, 2-1 in District 1-8A) on October 29.
“Creekside has to win the game to get into the playoffs, and we have to win it to give ourselves a playoff resume,” said Garis. “Plus, we still have the opportunity to have a winning record and win the county championship by beating Fleming Island
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