BY DAN STICKRADT
BIRMINGHAM — Throughout his historic coaching career, Bud Rowley said he has never felt intimidated to march his Oxford football team up against any team in Michigan, regardless of conference, record or tradition.
His troops are currently well motivated to do just that.
Oxford made amends of a first-round postseason loss last season, going on the road and pounding OAA blue Division champion Birmingham Seaholm 42-8 in a Division 2 pre-district Friday night.
Junior running back, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, Zach and Prescott, led the running game, Glacier Wallington was on target in the passing game and Brennan Orr fueled the defensive prowess as the Wildcats dominated in all phases of the game to advance to the next round and face defending state champion Birmingham Brother Rice for the district championship next weekend, a game that will be played at Berkley.
“We will play anybody,” growled Rowley, who has coached four separate teams to the Final Four in his career, including one state championship and two state runner-up teams. “We can play anybody. We are not afraid to play anybody.”
Seaholm, which finished 8-2 after one of its best seasons in recent years, found that out Friday night.
Line, who missed a stretch of the season with an injury, put together another workhorse effort by compiling 147 rushing yards on 26 carries and crossed the goal line four times. Wallington complemented Line by going 6-for-8 passing for 133 yards and one touchdown pass.
“We played some really good football,” admitted Rowley, whose team competed in the ever-tough OAA White Division. “We played the way you’re supposed to play in the playoffs. We got the job done.”
Line scored the first three touchdowns of the contest, two in the first quarter and one in the third. His first was a 4-yard run, followed by a 2-yard plunge and a 20-yard scamper.
Zach Hadorn caught an 8-yard pass from Wallington for another score just before the half as the Wildcats (7-3) built a 28-point lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Line scored again on a 3-yard run, while Kyle Reason scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap Oxford’s scoring. Josh Nelson was 6—for-6 on extra points.
Oxford held Seaholm to under 200 yards of offense. Orr picked off a pass in the end zone and also recovered a fumble to go along with three tackles for the Wildcats.
Seaholm spoiled the shutout inside the final two minutes when Tyler Scott hauled in a 5-yard toss from Stephen Guenther.
Now, the Wildcats will go on the road to face one of Michigan’s predominant programs in Brother Rice.
“We’ve played them before with some close games. We will play anybody, anytime,” added Rowley. “We will be ready for them.”
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