Oak Creek football team defeats Kenosha Bradford to move to .500 on season
Knights take on Racine Park Friday
After the tough loss to rival Franklin the previous week, the Oak Creek football team needed a gut check to see how much of the season remained in the Knights' hearts.
The coaches found that there was quite a bit. After a sluggish first half, the Knights broke through for 21 points in the third quarter and cruised to a 38-20 victory over Kenosha Tremper last Friday.
"We told the kids to keep their chins up," said coach Mike Bartholomew. "We had played the fifth-ranked, the seventh-ranked and the eighth-ranked teams in the state's top 10 in our first five games and we were in position to beat them all.
"We just had to remember that we're a good team, too and that we can't ever forget that. We just have to keep working at it, because we're still growing."
The win leaves the Knights' WIAA state playoff hopes in place as they improved to 2-2 in Southeast Conference play and 3-3 overall. They have a chance to keep that momentum going, when they host Racine Park (0-4 in league play) at 7 p.m. Friday.
"We want the kids to keep playing for each other," Bartholomew said. "We do that, we still have a chance at doing something special."
The third quarter against Tremper was special enough for the Knights, as Oak Creek broke open a 10-6 lead with a 70-plus yard drive that ended with an 8-yard TD run by Derrick Stephan that made it 17-6.
It didn't take much time to boost that lead as Matt Hargreaves intercepted a Trojans' pass and almost immediately after quarterback Steve Stilwell found Nathan Comale on a 27-yard TD strike.
Right after, the Tremper punter got swamped and Oak Creek got the ball on a short field that eventually resulted in Jordan Strong burrowing his way in for a 1-yard TD run to make it 31-6 at the end of the quarter.
"It was much different than in the first half," Bartholomew said. "We kept moving the ball and then we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We really missed some opportunities."
Donovan Brown finished off the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard run.
In the first half, the Knights took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Stephan. Hargreaves added a 24-yard field goal in the second period.
Stephan finished the night with 150 yards on 19 carries, while Jamie Smith had 62 on 14 attempts and Brown 58 yards on just four tries.
Strong and Stilwell finished a combined 5 of 9 through the air for 75 yards.
"I was really happy with our defensive front" Bartholomew said. "They were playing so hard this night. The defense is just getting better every week."
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