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2020 PIAA Playoffs (OC FB, RV, Clarion VB)

Column: Oil City Football – How Winners Think

Oil City players and cheerleaders sing the school Alma Mater as performed by the marching band.

Of course Oil City was going to go for it. 

Up 28-27 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, fourth-and-two from their own 43 and Upper Moreland out of time outs, that was the decision. 

That’s what winners do, and that’s the decision the players made, said coach Dan York after the win. 

“You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do,” senior Holden Stahl said afterwards. He could have been referencing any number of things that happened during the course of this wild game.

Sure, they could have stopped UM on the ensuing possession, but the Golden Bears had already scored twice in the second half. 

Winners take risks, and for Oil City, they were going to finish this game on their own terms. Because that’s what winners do. 

It’s that same attitude that has helped them overcome so much adversity the last few weeks. 

To be perfectly honest, they didn’t face much in rolling through District 10 on their way to yet another title. 

But they went into the state playoffs knowing they would be without not just two of their best players, but two of the best players in District 10 and in the state in Cam Russell and Brayden Crocker due to injury. 

That’s not hyperbole. This is, after all, one of the best teams in the state, and Russell and Crocker are two big reasons why. 

It certainly caught the attention of a number of football minds across District 10, including Warren assistant coach Andrew Morrison.

Throughout their entire quarterfinal game they faced adversity, and this coming on the heels of a game against Juniata in which they overcame four second-half turnovers, stopping a Juniata 2-point conversion attempt in the final moments to advance. 

They had to watch as their teammate and brother, Jayson Weilacher, was taken off the field in the third quarter on a stretcher. Jayson gave the thumbs up as he left the field, and we certainly pray for a speedy recovery for the senior. 

Time and again, they wouldn’t be denied. 

Sean Stack, who hadn’t practiced all week and who had to leave early in the game due to injury kept coming back, leading the Oilers in rushing. 

Stahl, an unquestioned leader on this team, wasn’t going to be stopped short of the end zone on his go-ahead 5-yard touchdown run with four minutes to go. 

And that fourth down call?

Well, when you have one of the best offensive lines in the state, that doesn’t hurt ether, and make no mistake, those guys wanted to finish the game right then and there as much as anybody. It was personal for them.

That’s how winners think. 

This week, the Oilers face Thomas Jefferson in the state semifinals, and, for the first time this season, will go into a game as an underdog. 

They will once again be without some of their best players. 

I guarantee you they don’t care. They don’t care about the adversity, they just care about the end result. 

That’s how winners think.

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