It might not have been their best performance of the season, but Oneida managed to pick up a road-win at Cumberland Gap (34-20)and remain unbeaten with an impressive 5-0 record.
Oneida coach Tony Lambert likes his team’s record, but he was not pleased with their performance at Cumberland Gap.
“It’s good to be 5-0 and 2-0 in the region,” Lambert said. “We know we’re going to be in the playoffs. Mathmatically, I don’t guess there is any way we can miss it. But it seems like we’ve been on the decline the last coupl eof weeks. We need to find a way to pick our game up a little bit.”
The Indians got off to a good start as Evan Roberts scored to give his team a 7-0 lead and Elijah West hooked up with Toby Hacker an a 29-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 Oneida lead with 5:10 left to play in the opening quarter.
Cumberland Gap tightened the score at 14-7, but the Indians managed to stretch the lead back out with a five-yard touchdown run by Bryson Buttram for a 21-7 advantage at the half.
Oneida came back out strong in the third quarter as Roberts scored his second touchdown of the night on a 24-yard run to give the Indians a 27-7 lead. Roberts led the Indians with 155 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Matt Hood rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries, while Buttram added 56 yards on 10 carries. Hacker finished with 33 yards on six touches. The Indians recorded 363 total yards of offense, while allowing Cumberland Gap a total of 267 yards (108 rushing and 159 passing).
Cumberland Gap scored late in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter to pull within a touchdown at 27-20 with 8:25 left to play and it was gut-check time for the Indians.
Hacker plowed his way in for a one-yard touchdown with just over three minutes left on the clock and the Indians held on for the win.
“I thought we lost our edge a little bit tonight,” Lambert said. “For the first time we looked like we were tired. We looked like we were just very sluggish. It’s not very characteristic of our teams. It’s really frustrating right now.”
Lambert elaborated on how his team struggled to defend the passing game.
“They made plays in the passing game,” he said. “At times we just seem like we didn’t see the football. We just don’t have any identity in the secondary right now. We’ve got to find a way to get those guys to perform, but what goes with that is, we didn’t have a great pass-rush either. If we don’t get better in a hurry it will be rocky for us. But if we do what we’re capable of doing we will be competitive.”