If high school football fans came to Ooltewah on Friday hoping to see a tight-fisted defensive tussle with the Owls and visiting Siegel, they come to the wrong place.
There were record-like proportions of offense, but very little defense that even came close resembling anything like a rock wall.
Let’s get the score out of the way right now.
Siegel, bouncing back from a 42-21 loss to rival Blackman last week, trailed by 33-17 with less than a minute left in the first half, but reeled off 34 straight points – the blitz started with a deflected pass that wound up giving the Stars a touchdown as time ran out in the half – and went on to defeat the Owls, 58-47.
“We knew coming in this would be a punch, counter-punch game because they have some good offensive weapons, and we do too,” said Owls coach Mac Bryan, who was making his home debut after a 42-2 rout at Brainerd a week ago.
Siegel now has defeated Ooltewah in all three meetings by a combined score of 162-50.
Now here are some of the stunning statistical details of the shootout.
The teams combined for 105 points.
And 1,048 yards of total offense.
Siegel (1-1) matched the school record for most points in a single game with 58. The Stars also scored 58 on rival Oakland on Nov. 2, 2012.
The 58 points were the most Ooltewah has given up since Soddy-Daisy put up 62 in a 55-point win over the Owls in 1997. McMinn County scored 58 against Ooltewah two years later and won, of course.
Ooltewah had 614 yards of offense – 340 passing and 274 rushing – while the Stars piled up 434 total yards – 244 passing and 190 on the ground.
Ooltewah had 401 total yards at halftime and led, 33-24, and Desmond Pittman had 147 rushing yards, wide receiver Mike Williams had 111 receiving yards and quarterback Brody Binder had 156 passing yards with two touchdowns.
Owls wide receiver Anthony Turner caught seven passes for 163 yards, including four touchdowns covering 69, 16, 11 and 21 yards. Three came in the second quarter when each team scored 21 points.
“It was a good night for me,” said Turner, who was starting his first varsity game. “We had to pick it back up in the second half, but couldn’t do it. We can’t stop. We can’t let down. But we’ll be OK.”
Pittman finished with 30 rushes for 222 yards and a 2-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
Siegel coach Greg Wyant said Pittman lived up to his billing as a back that carries a powerful punch with no regard for unloading on smaller defensive backs.
“The only way I know to prepare for him is to get a Mack truck and drive it as fast as you can and run into him as many times as you can,” Wyant said. “That guy is a hoss.”
Binder completed 24-of-41 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns to Turner, who also snagged a 69-yard bomb from wideout Edward Hayes on a gimmick play to open the second-quarter scoring.
Siegel’s Dakota Crane completed 14-of-23 attempts for 274 yards with four touchdowns, two to Dominique Gooch covering 47 and 10 yards. Crane, who rushed for 68 yards and two scores, also hit Denzel Harding on a 44-yard touchdown toss and a found Weston Hayes for a 41-yard strike.
Hayes also recovered an errant Ooltewah center snap on a punting situation in the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Gooch caught five passes for 95 yards.
The Owls’ Demontes Earls ended the game’s pin-ball scoring parade with a 97-yard kickoff return.
Ooltewah even hit triple digits with 100 yards on 10 penalties.
The hardest working people in the stadium were the scoreboard operator and Owl cheerleaders, who matched their team’s point total after touchdowns with pushups.
“In the second half we had chances to make two or three plays in the passing game, but we didn’t make them, which we were making in the first half,” Bryan said. “With a team as explosive as Siegel, you have to be explosive back and you can’t turn it over.
“You have to make plays when they’re there.”
With Ooltewah leading, 33-17, after Binder and Turner hooked up on an 11-yard touchdown toss with 57.3 seconds left in the half, Siegel started its remarkable comeback with a gift from the football gods.
From the Owls’ 44, Crane threw a “Hail Mary” pass high and far down field. Around the 7-yard-line, a group of players batted the ball up in the air and Harding grabbed it out of mid-air, turned and rambled into the end zone as time expired. Following the extra point, the Stars, who reached the Class 6A semifinals in 2012, trailed by just nine points.
On fourth-and-15 from the Stars’ 26, Binder a pass toward Williams, who couldn’t wrap it up as he fell into the end zone.
Siegel responded with 74-yard, eight-play drive aided by Andrew Knox’s 27-yard catch on a third-and-11 play. Ironically, the pass was deflected by an Ooltewah defender before Knox pulled it in to his body.
Three plays later Crane fired a 10-yard dart to Gooch for the touchdown. The extra-point attempt was blocked, but the Stars were within 33-30.
On Ooltewah’s next possession, running back Demontes Earls fumbled and Siegel’s Luke Hills recovered as the Owls’ 44. Four plays later Crane scored from 17 yards out and the Stars led for the first time in the game at 37-33.
The Stars forced a punt and the snap sailed over Owls punter Austin Rector’s head and Hayes smothered it in the back of the end zone, stretching the lead to 44-33.
Siegel’s defense then stopped Pittman, a 5-foot-11-inch, 240-pound back, for a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-two.
Crane made the Owls pay, hitting Gooch on first down with a 41-yard scoring strike and the lead ballooned to 51-33.
“In a run like they had,” Bryan said, “you just try to find a way to slow them down a little bit offensively. And you have to try and match them.”
Turner’s 20-yard touchdown reception with 6:48 left in the game, stopped the Stars’ blitz and was Ooltewah’s first score since Turner’s touchdown catch as the second quarter wound down under a minute.
With 3:48 left in the game, Harding capped the Star’s scoring with a 1-yard plunge, extending the margin to 58-33.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ooltewah’s Earls kicked the ball around a bit, retrieved it at the 3 and rambled 97 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Owls within 57-47.
Ooltewah’s sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Jackson recovered a Siegel fumble at the Stars’ 38, but a facemask penalty negated the play. Siegel than ran the clock out.
Jackson, who had 11 tackles with seven solos in the game, was asked how the Owls would deal with the stinging setback.
“We’ll go up here (locker room) and talk about it, fix our mistakes and get ready for next week,” he said. “We have to let this one go.”
The Owls (1-1) open District 5-AAA at Soddy-Daisy (2-0) next week.
Siegel will play at Oakland (2-0) on Friday.
Siegel 3 21 20 14 — 58
Ooltewah 12 21 0 14 – 47
OOL – Mike Williams 13 run (kick failed), 7:21
SIE – FG Harrison Reed 25, 3:00
OOL – Desmond Pittman 2 run (kick failed), 1:14
OOL – Anthony Turner 69 pass from Edward Hayes (Laslo Toser kick), 11:44
SIE – Dominique Gooch 47 pass from Dakota Crane (Reed kick), 10:55
SIE – Andre Knox 32 run (Reed kick), 6:38
OOL – Turner 16 pass from Brody Binder (Toser kick), 4:53
OOL – Turner 11 pass from Binder (Toser kick), 0:57
SIE – Denzel Harding 44 pass from Crane (Reed kick), 0:00
SIE – Gooch 10 pass from Crane (kick blocked), 5:57
SIE – Crane 18 run (Reed kick), 3:35
SIE – Weston Hayes recovered snap in end zone (Reed kick), 1:56
SIE — Hayes 41 pass from Crane (Reed kick), 11:51
OOL – Turner 21 pass from Binder (Toser kick), 6:48
SIE – Crane 2 run (Reed kick), 3:48
OOL – Demontes Earls 97 kickoff return (Toser kick), 3:31
First Downs 17 33
Rushes-Yards 36-190 47-244
Passing Yards 274 340
Total Yards 59-464 89-584
Com.-Att.-Int. 14-23-0 25-42-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 5-2
Punts.-Avg. 5-41.2 2-32.5
Penalties-Yds. 10-65 10-100
RUSHING — Siegel: Dakota Crane 11-68, Andre Knox 7-56, Andrew Knox 8-31, Denzel Harding 8-26, Chazz Powell 1-6, Dominique Gooch 1-3; Ooltewah: Desmond Pittman 30-222, Demontes Earls 5-24, Brandon Byrd 5-14, Mike Williams 1-13, Toser 1-5, Brody Binder 4-minus 14, Austin Rector 1-minus 20.
PASSING — Siegel: Crane 14-23-0-274; Ooltewah: Binder 24-41-0-271, Edward Hayes 1-1-0-69.
RECEIVING — Siegel: Gooch 5-95, Weston Hayes 4-66, Andrew Knox 2-65, Harding 1-44, Andre Knox 2-4; Ooltewah: Turner 7-163, Williams 9-82, Hayes 4-49, Pittman 3-38, Will Frisbee 1-4, Byrd 1-4.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)