Typical of this time of year, River Oaks left Saturday’s Jam at the Grove at ULM with some positives and negatives.
As far as the scoreboard, the Mustangs played Clinton Christian to a 6-6 draw and bowed to Vicksburg St. Aloysius 7-0. Of course, jamborees are more about evaluating strengths and weaknesses than wins and losses.
“What we found out is we have a lot of room to improve,” River Oaks coach Robert Hannah said.
Suiting up only 18 players, conditioning remains a concern for the Mustangs. Throw in back-to-back games with temperatures in the mid-90s on a turf field, and it comes as no surprise that fatigue was an issue Saturday.
“I’m still worried about our conditioning,” Hannah said. “Next week, we get to add another half and do special teams.”
The jamboree format called for a 20-minute running clock period, with three water breaks. Next week’s game counts as the Mustangs visit Benton (Miss.) Friday for the season opener. Benton already has a regular season game under its belt, having blanked Vicksburg Porter’s Chapel 28-0 Friday night.
“We’ll come in Monday, watch film, go through a light weight workout and start getting ready for our first game against Benton Academy,” Hannah said. “The advantage Benton has is they have already played a game.”
Clinton Christian 6, River Oaks 6
Both teams put together time-consuming scoring drives while playing to a stalemate.
CCS opened the game with a nine-play, 70-yard drive. Dylan McIntyre’s 32-yard pass to Noah Murray set up Keiwon Rodgers’ 1-yard run. The Warriors came up empty on the 2-point conversion, leaving the score at 6-0.
“I was disappointed in the first drive,” Hannah said. “We didn’t do a very good job. We had a busted coverage on the big play, and they walked it in from the 1.”
River Oaks responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive behind the front wall of John David Roberson, Samuel Alexander, Kolby Gregory, Hunter Ashbrook and Tucker Raborn.
Drake Tannehill’s 22-yard pass to Miguel Gonzalez pushed the Mustangs into CCS territory at the 31. Tannehill later converted a third-and-two with a 13-yard run to set up first-and-goal at the 10.
On third-and-goal from the 13, Tannehill found Nick Parrino for the touchdown. River Oaks missed the PAT, leaving the score knotted at 6-6 with 4:07 to play.
“On the bright side, I thought we got better after the first series,” Hannah said. “I thought our offense did a pretty good job of moving the ball. Clinton Christian had already played a game, and I thought they were a little tired.”
Holding penalties on back-to-back snaps disrupted the Warriors’ second offensive series as time expired.
Matthew Henson and Gonzalez led the way for River Oaks defensively.
St. Aloysius 7, River Oaks 0
St. Al scored on its first possession and held the Mustangs to only one first down in the nightcap.
Sacks on consecutive plays blew up River Oaks’ first drive, which netted minus-11 yards.
Taking over at the Mustangs’ 49 on the change of possession, the Flashes scored six plays later on quarterback Phillip Upshaw’s6-yard run.
“St. Aloysius was a little more physical than I remember them being last year,” Hannah said. “Their defensive line was getting the best of us. We have to do a better job of meeting the challenge.”
River Oaks went three plays and out on its third series.
Starting from their own 38, the Flashes moved the chains to near midfield before Gonzalez pounced on a fumble at the River Oaks 48.
An errant snap on first down led to a 14-yard loss and the Mustangs eventually turned the ball over on downs at their own 34.
Alexander broke through for a third down sack and Gregory stopped a fourth down screen pass to give the Mustangs one final shot in the waning moments.
A roughing the passer penalty as the horn sounded led to River Oaks’ only first down before the game ended with an incomplete pass on an untimed down.