Houston Ends Oakland Reign In The Rain

Mustangs Win 1st State Title in 24-9 Fashion for 6A Crown

  • Saturday, December 2, 2023
  • James Beach

Chandler Day had watched the Houston Mustangs football program he would one day take the quarterback reins for back in 2019 lose a heartbreaker in the 6A state semifinals, telling anyone who would listen to the then eighth-grader he would one day lead them to a state title.

That day came Saturday night as the Houston Mustangs won the program's first ever state title, dethroning three-time defending champion Murfreesboro Oakland, 24-9, in a pouring rain that in absolutely no way dampened the celebration of raising the gold ball.

In a night of delivering promises and conquering mountain tops as the prep season closed its books on the 2023 season with the final of nine championship BlueCross Bowl games with the 6A finale, Chandler had plenty of help on his side to deliver coach James Thomas his perfect end to a season.

"This is unbelievable. I'm just speechless. It's a dream come true," said Thomas, who had lost twice in the state semifinals as a coach and once as a player for the Mustang nation.

Added Day, a junior lefty who had thrown for over 2,400 yards on the season: "This has been my goal for a long time. It was never about me, but about the program. Just an incredible night for our community."

And Day obviously convinced his Mustang teammates it was an achievable goal and no one bought into it more so than tailback Damon Sisa and defensive end Tony Williams, each single-handedly carrying their respective units on their backs. Sisa, the game's deserving MVP, rushed for 179 yards on 30 exhausting carries and it was Williams, a talented 6-1, 255-pound sophomore defender who iced the game with a 27-yard interception return for score to seal the crown.

The Mustangs (13-2) did what nobody has been able to do during the Patriots' impressive string of three straight titles. Houston held the bullish Oakland offense to one TD, ending a 59-game streak of double-digit scoring dating back to a 12-0 finals loss to Maryville to close the 2019 season.

"You know when we were 1-2 to start the season, there may have been doubts about how good this team was, but since that third game of the year, this defense has taken no prisoners. Just a phenomenal effort by that group and their coaches tonight," added Thomas, who saw his defense give up just 25 points during the five-game playoff run.

The Mustangs did it with turnovers created, with last night marking the fourth straight game the defense intercepted three passes in a game. Oakland (12-3) had two effective drives against the stout defense, gaining 106 yards combined in the two opening drives of each half, while netting just 96 on the other six drives.

Oakland's Mr. Football finalist, Daune Morris, has had his way against all comers this year, rushing for close to 2,000 yards, but on this rainy night, he was held to 94 yards on 24 carries and the Patriots could not manage to break any of their patented big plays with the deceptive Wing-T offense. Morris was limited to four yards or less on 15 of his 24 carries, and Oakland managed just four plays of over 10 yards.

"We knew if we limited them to big plays, especially with the weather, it would be the key," said Williams, who also recovered a fumble and had a big sack in the fourth period.

Oakland took the early lead with a 14-play, 57-yard drive on its first possession, with Morris making a stop and then go move from the 8 for the first score. They managed just 40 yards on the other 15 plays in the half, while Sisa proved to be a load for the Patriots defense. Sisa ran for 62 yards on Houston's tying drive after Oakland's initial punch, and Day found Shawnee Jones for a three-yard score to close out the first quarter.

With the torrential downpour wreaking havoc on the conditions, Oakland missed its extra point and when Houston converted its PAT it was 7-6 and the Mustangs never trailed again.

Trotter Jones, who joined the team from the soccer squad midway through the season after an injury to Houston's starter, added a 25-yard field goal for Houston to make 10-6 at the half. Oakland marched it down the field to open the second half with its most effective series, but it stalled when Josie Joiner dropped Morris on a third-down run behind the line and forced a 32-yard field goal by Jacob Taylor to make it a 10-9 game.

"I was really proud of the way we responded after their first half drive. It was gut check time, and our guys answered the bell," added Thomas after Houston marched it 80 yards in 17 plays with the answer to Oakland's field goal.

The Mustangs converted two third downs and a pair of fourth downs on the drive before Sisa cashed in to start the final quarter with a 2-yard dive to make it 17-9. Oakland's final four possessions of the game ended with a turnover on downs, a fumble, and two interceptions. The big one, though, came on a third down play in which TJ Edwards got pressure on Oakland QB Kyler Creasy and Williams picked the ball out of the air before lumbering the final 27 yards for the dagger. Andre Allen's pick with 50 seconds left got the celebration started.

HOUSTON

7

3

0

14

-- 24

OAKLAND

6

0

3

0

-- 9

SCORING SUMMARY

OAK Duane Morris 8 run (kick failed) (2:57, 1st) 0-6

HOU Shawne Jones 3 interception return (Trotter Jones kick) (:07, 1st) 7-6

HOU Jones 25 field goal (8:03, 2nd) 10-6

OAK Jacob Taylor 32 field goal (6:45, 3rd) 10-9

HOU Damon Sisa 2 run (Jones kick) (11:43, 4th0 17-9

HOU Tony Williams 27 interception return (Jones kick) (1:16, 4th) 24-9

STATS

HOU

OAK

First Downs

15

10

Rushes-Yards

44-236

42-188

Passing Yards

26

14

Total yards

262

202

Passing (Comp-Att-Int)

4-16-1

3-11-3

Penalties-Yards

5-40

7-52

Fumbles-Lost

1-0

3-1

Punts-Average

2-15.5

1-46.0

Time of Possession

22:56

25:04

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Houston Rushing: Damon Sisa 30-179, 1 TD; Chandler Day 7-29; Lafrederick James 1-12; Marcelles Davis 3-12; Andre Allen 1-7, TEAM 2-(-3).

Oakland Rushing: Daune Morris 24-94, 1 TD; Ashton Jones 12-69; Kyler Creasy 4-34;;TEAM 1-(-2); Patrick Freeman 1-(-7).

Houston Passing: Chandler Day 3-5-1 for 25 yards, 1 TD; Owen Waggener 1-1-0 for 1 yard.

Oakland Passing: Patrick Freeman2-7-2 for 9 yards ; Kyler Creasy 1-3-1 for 5 yards; Daune Morris 0-1-0 for 0.

Houston Receiving: Andre Allen 1-16; Owen Waggener 1-6; Shawne Jones 1-3, 1 TD; Lafrederick James 1-1.

Oakland Receiving; Marcus Bullard 1-6; Craig Tutt 1-5; Daune Morris 1-3.

Records: Houston 13-2; Oakland 13-2.

Most Valuable Player: Damon Sisa, Houston.

Notable: Houston wins first-ever state football title.

(Contact James Beach at 1134james@gmail.com)

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