This is a game that separates the two schools, Oliver Springs and Coalfield, by 5 miles on a road that is named in honor of the Late Garry Kreis (pronounced Chris) who was a star player at Oliver Springs in the mid-60’s and is the all-time winningest coach at Coalfield.
This years game, however, is especially important because of the playoff implications. A win by Coalfield would clinch their first Region title since 2013. And this is the first time that a game between Oliver Springs and Coalfield has the region championship on the line since the TSSAA began high school playoffs back in 1969.
Oliver Springs snapped Coalfield’s 7-game winning streak last year in a pouring rain, 27-0.
The Bobcats hosted Oakdale last week for a 50-14 victory in which the ground game generated 300 plus yards in rushing with 5 different people scoring in the game.
Coalfield has not seen action since a 44-28 victory over Midway on October 2nd. A COVID-19 win over Greenback and their scheduled bye week has the Yellow Jackets hungry to see the field again.
Oliver Springs leads this series 31-17-1, and has a 15-9-1 record playing on Rochelle Field in Coalfield. However, Coalfield has won 8 out of the last 10 meetings. The 2 teams met for the first time in 1931, the first football game in Coalfield school history, a game won by the Bobcats.
Two great coaches for both schools, Larry Green at Oliver Springs, in his 6th year as the head coach with a 35-31 overall record.
Coach Keith Henry is in his 13th season as the head coach of Coalfield and has 110 wins trailing only Garry Kreis, who had 165 wins, in that category. Coach Henry has a 56-19 record at home as coach at Coalfield.
The Yellow Jackets enter the game ranked #2 in the latest AP Poll, the highest ranking they’ve had since being ranked #1 for 2 weeks during the 2013 season.
Leading the way for the Bobcats is Gavin Hill who has 737 yards rushing on 109 attempts with 6 touchdowns. Zach Elliott is the Quarterback for OS and is 31 of 58 for 272 yards passing, as the Bobcats rely heavily on the ground game as they have 1,765 yards rushing as a team, almost double their opponents. Elliott has scored 9 touchdowns himself, leading the team in that category.
Linebacker Jacob Hileman leads Oliver Springs in tackles with 80 total stops and 8 tackles for loss, plus 1 interception and a fumble recovery. Brandon Nation leads the team in tackles for loss with 10.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets are led by Seth Lowe’s 453 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, plus 145 yards receiving with another TD. Add in a kick return for Lowe and he has 14 total touchdowns. And for good measure, Lowe has thrown for 2 TD’s with 117 yards passing on 3 attempts.
Cole Hines is the leading quarterback, the sophomore is 40 of 67 with 502 yards passing with 4 TD passes and 2 INT’s. Dawson Nitzschke is the top receiver with 11 receptions for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On defense, the Yellow Jackets are led by Landon Lowe who has 38 total tackles and Isaac McKinney who has 25 tackles with 2 sacks.
Throw out the records, throw out the stats, this is a true rivalry game that will decide the Region 2 – 1A championship and we’ll have it live on the OEB Law Game of the Week on Friday, October 23, 2020, starting at 7pm with the pregame and 7:30pm for the kickoff. If you can’t make it to the game, we’ll have all the coverage for you right here on BBB TV12 of the OEB Law Game of the Week.
A special thanks to Greg Addington and Jason Daniels for the statistics and background information for this article.