CARROLLTON, Ga. — They get the Internet over in Georgia, but evidently no one on Carrollton’s coaching staff googled “Racean Thomas.”
The Trojans kicked to Oxford’s standout junior running back early and paid for it.
And he kept making them pay for it as the game went on as the Yellow Jackets rallied for a 21-17 season opening win.
“This was huge for this team because we’re so young and inexperienced,” Oxford coach John Grass said. “To go in there and steal one early in the season, it’s just huge.”
After going up 7-0 early, Carrollton booted the ensuing kickoff to Thomas, one of the top running back prospects in the state. Thomas caught the ball and promptly raced 90 yards up the right sideline virtually untouched to tie the score.
While the play was electrifying, it wasn’t the biggest part in the game.
Carrollton had suffered an injury to one of its two quarterbacks during the gameweek practices. The injury forced them to a unbalanced rushing attack which caught the Jackets off guard.
After the Trojans staked a 17-7 halftime lead, the Jackets regrouped and held Carrollton to only 43 yards total offense in the second half.
Thomas kept Oxford’s second scoring drive alive in the most unlikely of ways. Also Oxford’s punter, he took a bobbled snap and converted the fourth down with a 32-yard run to keep the drive alive. Oxford quarterback Ty Webber capped the drive with a 4-yard run to make it 17-14.
With Oxford’s defense doing its part, Webber stepped up big with his arm on the game-winning drive. In the nine-play drive, Webber was 3-for-3 on third-down passes. Thomas accounted for the difference maker, going in from 18 yards out with 4:16 remaining.
Oxford held Carrollton’s defense one final time and then ran the final 2:57 off the clock using a fourth-down conversion by Thomas to do it.