Tigers end drought
OA in playoffs after 47 years
SHARON - The Oliver Ames and Sharon Thanksgiving football rivalry has, for the most part, just served as a friendly get-together. There was almost never a postseason berth on the line, no Hockomock League titles to be won, and no chance to break the .500 mark.
This season has been another story, as the teams battled for a 42d time - with postseason implications on the line. An Oliver Ames win would give the Tigers the Hockomock League Davenport title and a postseason berth for the first time since 1964. A Sharon victory, coupled with a Canton win over Stoughton, would give Sharon the title and a postseason invite.
Oliver Ames scored two touchdowns in its first four offensive plays and cruised to a 34-8 victory yesterday. OA has beaten Sharon eight consecutive years, 28 of 30, and owns a 31-11 all-time advantage. The Tigers (6-4, 3-1) will play Pembroke in the Division 3 semifinals Tuesday.
For Sharon (4-6, 2-2), it was a bitter end to a surprising season.
“We no longer just would come into a game and hope we didn’t lose too badly, but instead developed a confidence that we could compete against everyone and win,” said Sharon coach David Morse.
The Oliver Ames defense held leading rusher Sean Asnes to 36 yards on 10 carries, Sharon to 140 total yards. OA compiled a balanced attack with 199 yards passing and 199 yards rushing.
“We knew we had to stop Sharon’s running game and play with poise and not turn the ball over,’’ said Oliver Ames coach Jim Artz.
Oliver Ames was led by senior quarterback Jared Schneider (11-of-18 passing, 199 yards, 1 TD). Senior running back Sam Langston had 20 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Carlton Williamson had nine carries for 44 yards and a score.
OA wasted little time getting on the board.
After an interception ended Sharon’s opening drive of the contest, Schneider connected on a 57-yard pass to junior Michael McMillan. Ryan McGrath added the extra point. After holding Sharon on three plays, OA got the ball back. Langston had a 44-yard run and scored on a 10-yard run one play later. The extra point failed, but OA took a 13-0 lead into the second quarter.
Oliver Ames dominated the first half with a 230-39 advantage in total yards and held Sharon without a third-down conversion in seven attempts. OA added a 30-yard field goal by McGrath and a 17-yard touchdown run by Langston, followed by a 2-point conversion from Schneider to senior Alex Tepper to take a 24-0 lead into halftime.
The onslaught continued into the third quarter with a McGrath 27-yard field goal and a Williamson 17-yard run.
Sharon avoided a shutout on Jake Rotman’s 6-yard touchdown run and Eric Lesser’s 2-point pass to Jared Fogel.