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           Just one week after teammate Zach Upton collapsed and died during Oakman's game with Falkville, the Wildcats pulled off a miraculous comeback over Cold Springs. Oakman scored 28 points in the final six minutes of the game after trailing 33-12 in the fourth quarter.

           Both teams and fans from both sides met on the field at Cranford Stricklin Stadium for a prayer prior to the game. The coaches and players dedicated the game to Zach. Upton, a freshman, collapsed on the sideline and later died last week during the Wildcats' 40-7 win over Falkville.

           Football was not the main priority during the week. On Tuesday morning the entire student body held a prayer service on the football field. The team served as honorary pallbearers at his funeral on Wednesday.

           It would have been easy to understand why the Wildcats fell behind 33-12 with only six minutes remaining in the game. The miraculous comeback was not expected by anyone in attendance. But it happened.

           Cold Springs ran the football at will against the Oakman defense for most of the first 42 minutes of the game. They rushed for over 350 yards in the game, most coming in the first three quarters. The Wildcats came up with a way to slow down the Cold Springs running attack. Don't let them have the football.

           The Eagles built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and seemed to be on their way to a win. Oakman came back scoring on a 30-yard pass from Chad Kilgore to T.J. Price to cut the lead to 14-6. In the second quarter and another Cold Spring touchdown, Kilgore hooked up with Walker Woods on a three-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 20-12 at the half.

           The Eagles got another touchdown in the third and scored their final touchdown with 9:12 left in the game. Everyone likely thought the 33-12 lead would hold up the remainder of the game. 

           The comeback began at this point. Jonathan Gilbert capped off an 80-yard drive with a 7-yard run. The Wildcats took four minutes to score but still trailed 33-20 with 5:31 remaining. The Wildcats attempted an onside kick that they recovered for a first down near midfield.

          Oakman put together a 7-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a Winston Woods 7-yard run to cut the gap to 33-27 with 4:04 left on the clock. On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats huddled before breaking it quickly to catch the Cold Spring's players off guard with another onside kick. The loose ball was recovered by T.J. Price. The Wildcats had another chance.

           The drive took just three-plays as Jonathan Gilbert raced the final 45 yards breaking tackles along the way. The score was tied at 33-33 after the extra point attempt was missed. Just 2:54 remained in the game as the Wildcats lined up for the kickoff following the latest score. Oakman had scored 21 points while Cold Springs did not run a single play on offense.

           Cold Springs could not move the football and after three plays punted to the Wildcats. With just 1:16 left on the game clock, Oakman moved down the field toward a winning score. Kilgore ran for 29 yards on the first play from scrimmage after the punt. Following an incomplete pass, Kilgore found Woods again in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with just 18 seconds remaining in the game.

           Walker Woods intercepted a Cold Springs pass to seal the victory for the home team. Oakman had come back from a 33-12 deficit to win 40-33 on a foggy evening when every person in the stadium had their thoughts elsewhere. But for a time the Oakman players, coaches and fans celebrated along the sidelines following the improbable win.

           Kilgore led the Oakman comeback by completing 19-of-31 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Gilbert rushed for 104 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns.




Oakman ....................................   0 12   0 28 -40
Cold Springs ............................. 14   6   6   7 -33
 
Cold Springs -
Cold Springs -
Oakman - Chad Kilgore 30-yard pass to T.J. Price
Cold Springs -
Oakman - Chad Kilgore 30-yard pass to Walker Woods
Cold Springs -
Cold Springs - 9:12
Oakman - Jonathan Gilbert 7-yard run (two-Point good) 5:31
Oakman - Winston Woods 7-yard run  4:04
Oakman - Jonathan Gilbert 45-yard run (kick missed) 2:54
Oakman - Chad Kilgore pass to Walker Woods (kick good) 0:18


Oakman
2004

8/27 27 Parrish . . . . . . . . . . . 43
9/3 34 Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . 19
9/10 7 Lamar County . . . . . . 44
9/24 26 Northside . . . . . . . . . 8
10/1 19 Holly Pond . . . . . . . . 40
10/8 25 Cleveland . . . . . . . . . 42
10/15 40 Falkville . . . . . . . . . 6
10/22 40 Cold Springs . . . . . . 33
10/29 47 Priceville . . . . . . . . 20
11/5 32 Berry Fayette . . . . . 28
11/12 0 Randolph County * . . . 19

297 6-5 302

* Playoff game
Cold Springs
2004

8/27 39 Meek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
9/3 12 Holly Pond . . . . . . . . 13
9/10 48 Falkville . . . . . . . . . 21
9/24 28 Colbert Heights . . . . 27
10/1 16 Priceville . . . . . . . . 0
10/8 21 Lamar County . . . . . . 41
10/15 15 Cleveland . . . . . . . . . 13
10/22 33 Oakman . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
10/29 20 Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . 17
11/5 27 Good Hope . . . . . . . . . 0
11/12 7 Clay County * . . . . . 35

266 7-4 221

* Playoff game



  The Memorable Games, a series on the important and memorable games in high school football history

David Parker
  AHSFHS.org
  dparker@ahsfhs.org



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