ARAB — Rey Berrera kicked a 37-yard field goal with 5.2 seconds to play as Oxford rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Arab 26-24 Friday night and stun a home crowd hoping to see the Knights win their first championship in the region era of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
Class 6A, Region 7 is now up for grabs with Arab (6-2) still leading at 4-1 but needing help to beat Oxford (4-3, 3-1). The Yellow Jackets still must play Springville and Fort Payne, which also improved to 3-1 with a win over Southside-Gadsden on Friday.
Arab has already defeated Fort Payne and will face Springville in two weeks.
Arab’s Johnson twins — quarterback Ed and wide receiver Wes — put on a stirring performance in the first half, connecting twice on long TD passes.
But it was Oxford QB Samuel Robertson who eventually stole the show. He passed 14 yards to E’mari Carroll for Oxford’s first score to make it 17-7 with 5:19 left in the first half, then ran in a TD from 1 yard out to make it 17-17 with 6:09 left in the third quarter.
Arab drove 84 yards in 22 plays to take the lead with 2:47 to play while eating almost all the fourth quarter clock. Ed Johnson scored on a 1-yard sneak.
But Robertson drove the Yellow Jackets to a TD in four plays, with Jaydon Thomas running it in from 6 yards out with 1:41 left. The big play was a 37-yard run by Carroll on a Statue of Liberty play, and a personal foul by Arab at the end of the run put the ball on the Knights’ 6.
First-year Oxford coach Sam Adams went for the win, but Robertson’s pass to the end zone was high and Arab still led 24-23.
Oxford had all three timeouts and kicked onsides, but Ed Johnson recovered for Arab. Oxford used its timeouts and got the ball back at its own 20 with 1:13 left. That was just enough time for Robertson to drive the Yellow Jackets into field goal range and the win. Conger also connected on a 33-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the first half.
“I’m unbelievably proud to be the coach at Oxford,” Adams said outside a jubilant Yellow Jackets locker room. “Getting down 10-0 in the first quarter, these players had every opportunity to lay down.
“But they did nothing but battle back. I told them after the game, there might have been a time earlier this season when they might not have battled back, but this is a whole different football team.”
For one thing, Oxford played with all its starters for the first time this season.
“It’s the first time we’ve had all our starters since the first quarter of the jamboree game,” he said.
Robertson was 18-of-28 passing for 192 yards. Thomas ran for 101 yards on 19 carries.
Ed Johnson was 13-of-20 passing for 230 yards. Wes Johnson had seven catches for 133 yards including TD receptions of 39 and 49 yards.
Ed Johnson also gained 75 yards on 33 carries.
Arab had 342 yards of total offense and Oxford had 325.