HALL OF FAME
Ready to Roll: Hook, Line, and Sinker
August 25, 2012Oak Hills High School
Written by Michael Stainbrook
Ready to Roll: Hook Line, and Sinker
Late in the third quarter Saturday, the Walnut Hills punter fielded a low snap on a knee — only to be called down at his own 17-yard line. Four plays later, Oak Hills scored.
Such was a day of bad breaks for the Eagles, who had only one loss last season and came into their season opener with the momentum of the team’s first postseason appearance.
Meanwhile, Oak Hills (1-0) found a way to make the most of its opportunities to win the season opener against Walnut Hills 28-0 at Nippert Stadium. The victory marked the Highlanders’ first win in a Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown game in seven appearances.
Oak Hills coach Dan Scholz, in his first season coaching the Highlanders, said his team grew during the opener and that his squad was committed to the coaching staff’s game plan and their attempts to change the culture with the school’s football program.
“They have bought in, hook, line and sinker,” Scholz said.
Junior running back Demarco Ruffin paced the Highlanders on the ground and wore down the Eagles’ defense. After a touchdown on its opening drive, Oak Hills scored off a pair of second-quarter miscues by Walnut Hills (0-1).
Oak Hills got on the board with a 24-yard fourth-down scamper by junior running back Matt Elliott. The teams traded possessions until midway through the second quarter, when a botched punt return gave Oak Hills prime real estate. Junior running back Demarco Ruffin later crossed the goal line on fourth and goal.
Ruffin said the win gives ample confidence to the Highlanders.
“It just shows everybody we are not the old Oak Hills,” Ruffin said. “We are the new Oak Hills. The new Oak Hills is here to come and play.”
Eagles junior quarterback Kevin Blount could not find the end zone with the running attack. Senior quarterback Jake Desch, who is recovering from an elbow injury, entered to add the passing game to Walnut Hills’ repertoire. But Oak Hills needed only one play from scrimmage to turn an Eagles interception into another score.
“We didn’t do anything on first down. That was a problem,” Eagles coach George Kontsis said. “We forced the defense to stay on the field, and they stayed on our side of the field the entire game.”
The Highlanders added the fourth touchdown on the failed punt play late in the third quarter.
Ruffin kept the Eagles’ defense on its heels and used that space to open the passing game for senior quarterback Liam Sallquist, who had a 37-yard touchdown pass to Elliott.
Sallquist finished 5-for-8 for 31 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Ruffin had 62 yards and a touchdown on a game-high 22 carries. Elliott, who was named the team’s MVP, added 48 yards on four touches and a touchdown reception for the Highlanders.
“Usually when we don’t win Game 1, we don’t have a good season,” Elliott said. “So hopefully we got it turned around.”
Walnut Hills 28, Oak Hills 0
Walnut Hills 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Oak Hills 6 15 7 0 -- 28
O-Elliott 24 run (kick failed)
O-Ruffin 1 run (Kurtz kick)
O-Elliott 37 pass from Sallquist (Kurtz run)
O-Steffen 6 run (Kurtz kick)
Records: O 1-0, W 0-1.
The Highlanders host in their opening Harrison on Friday at 7:30pm.
Be there to support your Highlanders!