Dayton Oakwood had something Versailles didn’t and it was the difference in the game – Chris Hardy. The senior tailback returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (89 and 87 yards) en route to leading his team to a 28-16 victory at Versailles’ H.B. Hole Field. It was the first time since this series started in 2003 that the Lumberjacks beat the Tigers.
VERSAILLES – Dayton Oakwood had something Versailles didn’t and it was the difference in the game –Chris Hardy.
The senior tailback returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (89 and 87 yards) en route to leading his team to a 28-16 victory at Versailles’ H.B. Hole Field. It was the first time since this series started in 2003 that the Lumberjacks beat the Tigers.
“It feels good to get this victory,” Oakwood coach Paul Stone said. “The difference in the game was turnovers. Versailles coughed it up a couple of times, but they were able to really run the ball on us. We didn’t have very many offensive snaps and it was just a weird game.”
Statistically Versailles dominated the game. The Tiger option offense rolled up nearly 250 yards, eating up the clock and holding onto the football. But, the difference in the game was two red zone turnovers. Twice the Tigers were inside the Lumberjacks 20-yard line, only to cough up the ball.
The second problem Versailles had was Hardy on kickoff returns. After taking the opening kickoff, the Tigers went on a 14-play drive that resulted in a John Richard 27-yard field goal.
The 3-0 advantage vanished almost instantly. Hardy took the ensuing kickoff, darted up the middle than left and down the sideline for six points. The extra point made it 7-3 and the ‘Jacks never trailed again.
“Giving up four fumbles and two special team touchdowns means you are not going to win the game,” Versailles coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “We are so close to winning a lot of football games. Giving up the special team touchdowns is just unacceptable.”
In the second quarter both teams scored a touchdown before the halftime break, making it 14-10 Oakwood. It was at the half that things got very interesting off the field.
The skies started to light up and the game was delayed by weather for nearly two hours. Both teams were determined to finish up so they waited and waited. The second half kickoff finally happened at about 11:35, just before the OHSAA midnight deadline of restarting games. However, the delay did nothing to slow down the Hardy express.
Hardy snatched up a bouncing ball off the wet turf, sprinted left and down the side lines, 87-yards for the touchdown. It was a back breaking play for the Tigers.
“Patience is not my best quality and sitting that long was very difficult for me,” Stone said. “But we got just enough ahead and that is what I wanted to do. They did everything they wanted to do, but we just hung in there and survived.”
That is exactly what Oakwood did – survived. After the Hardy kickoff the Tigers started marching again. Using mostly a power running game, the Tigers pushed into the Oakwood red zone, but two mistakes cost them.
After a big run pushed the ball inside the 20-yard line a personal foul pushed it back. Then a few plays later Versailles fumbled on the Lumberjacks seven-yard line.
Eventually Versailles managed to score on an Ethan Oliver one-yard plunge. The two point conversion failed and it was 21-16 with 9:30 left in the game.
Looking to catch Oakwood off guard, Versailles attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Oakwood. The Lumberjacks than went 50 yards and Hardy sealed the game with a one-yard dive, his third and final score of the night.