By Steve Kirck
Special to the Register
OXFORD >> Oxford knew Tuesday was its last game in the South-West Conference before moving on to the Naugatuck Valley League next fall. The Wolverines not only wanted to finish with a winning record, they wanted their second straight win over Thanksgiving rival Pomperaug.
Behind a potent ground attack led by Steve Persson, Oxford accomplished both goals in its 28-12 win in the season finale for both teams played in a cold rain Tuesday night.
Fresh off a school-record 339 yards in a win over Bunnell on Nov. 15, Persson had an encore to remember on senior night. He rushed for 272 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries.
“Steve is a great back,” Oxford coach Joe Stochmal said. “He has a great lead blocker and the line played well tonight again. It was a great way for him to cap off his career.”
Persson scored on runs of 6 and 4 yards to cap time-consuming, first-half drives for the Wolverines (6-5). In fact, on his second score, Person carried all 10 plays of the drive as Oxford took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
Oxford stayed on the ground, turning to Marcus Esteves on the first drive of the second half. He carried five times for all 51 of his yards, capping off the drive with a 4-yard scoring run to increase Oxford’s lead to 21-6 just 2 minutes into the second half.
“It comes down to making plays,” Pomperaug coach David Roach said. “It’s tough watching them do to you what we used to do to other teams. Now I know what it’s like when other teams pound the run and you can’t stop it.”
Pomperaug (4-7) answered on its next drive. Faced with a fourth down at the Oxford 10, Roach went to his bag of tricks. Lined up for a field goal, holder Steven Croce pitched the ball to kicker Nickolas Harper for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-12.
Stochmal went deep into his playbook to cap the scoring for Oxford. After a double reverse, quarterback Kyle Chudoba got the ball back and found his favorite target, Chris Vankamerik, for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Chudoba completed 7 of 12 passes for 126 yards in tough conditions.
“We worked on the flea flicker for the last 10 days,” said Stochmal. “It never worked great, but it was the right time and right place on the field, so we gave it a shot.”
Oxford’s defense was impressive all night. The Wolverines allowed Pomperaug only 6 yards rushing on 11 attempts. Pomperaug quarterback Wade Prajer completed 14 of 29 passes for 204 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown to Steve Rubinstein to cut the deficit to 7-6 in the first quarter.
Oxford 28, Pomperaug 12
Pomperaug 6 0 6 0 0 — 12
Oxford 7 7 7 7 0 — 28
O—Steve Persson 6 run (Chris Vankamerik kick)
P—Sam Rubinstein 60 pass from Wade Prajer (Kick blocked)
O—Steve Persson 4 run (Vankamerik kick)
O—Marcus Esteves 4 run (Vankamerik kick)
P—Nick Harper 10 run (Pass failed )
O—Chris Vankamerik 22 pass from Kyle Chudoba (Vankamerik kick)
Team records: Oxford 6-5; Pomperaug 4-7