It was a miserable trip to Oakdale for Cloudland, but that didn’t stop them from getting the job done.
The ‘Landers stormed ahead in the fourth quarter to take a 30-28 victory over Oakdale in the opening game of the Smoky Mountain Conference on Friday in Oakdale.
For Cloudland, it was a feat to just get to the game as heavy traffic in Knoxville added extra time to the bus ride and delayed their arrival to Oakdale to 45 minutes prior to game time – not to mention sitting in the sweltering temperatures inside the bus while in traffic.
Cloudland was slow to start in the game as Oakdale built up an 8-0 lead after a quarter of play. The ‘Landers answered in the middle of the second quarter with a methodical drive that was capped with an Austin Whitehead touchdown. The conversion failed as CHS trailed 8-6 with just under five minutes to play in the half.
On the ensuing drive, Oakdale used a fourth down conversion to keep a drive a live, and scored on a third and goal to take a 14-6 lead into the half.
The teams traded punts to start the second half, and the ‘Landers were the first to get back on the board as Whitehead scored his second touchdown of the night with an eight yard run. That tied the game at 14-14 midway through the frame.
Oakdale, however, used a kickoff return to the Cloudland 25 to spark a quick touchdown drive to regain the lead for the Eagles.
The ‘Landers returned the favor as Colby Birchfield struck for an 18-yard touchdown on the next drive as CHS took a 22-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cloudland got some breathing room early in the fourth quarter as Whitehead scored on an eight-yard run as the two-point conversion gave Cloudland a 30-20 lead.
The Eagles fought back as they closed the gap to two points with just under four minutes to play. However, the ‘Landers maintained possession to run out the clock and secure the win.
Cloudland returns to action next Friday by hosting Avery County (N.C.) at Orr Field.