Oakwood Christian Eagles

The Oakwood Christian Academy soccer team made it three wins in a row after back-to-back road victories on Thursday and Friday.

OCA 8, Shenandoah 0

After beating Shenandoah this past Monday in Chickamauga, 9-0, the Eagles continued their dominance in a Thursday night rematch.

Chase Hepinstall netted the first goal in the sixth minute and Tomo Gilchrist found the net in the 10th and 21st minutes and the Eagles would take the 3-0 lead into intermission.

After making two saves in goal in the first half, Price Ray moved to forward in the second half as Hunter Hickman played keeper in the final 40 minutes. Ray scored in the 45th and 55th minutes. Caleb Epperson blasted home goals in the 47th and 65th minutes and Ryan Scarbrough put one home in the 53rd minute.

Hepinstall and Scottie Duffey both were credited with assists in the win as OCA moved players around frequently after the first 15 minutes.

OCA had 31 shots on goal, 12 coming on the combined efforts of Epperson and Hepinstall. Scarbrough, Ray, Garrett Dempsey, Sam Lewis, Jarrett Chambers and Noah Renshaw all had at least three shot attempts, while Corey Holder and Isaiah Staven got good looks as they played solid minutes at forward.

Hickman picked up two second-half saves.

OCA 3, Open Bible 0

Playing on a neutral field two-and-a-half hours away in Hampton, the Eagles faced off with their GCAA foes from Valdosta and scored the win in the first meeting between the two schools on opposite ends of the state.

Playing in steamy and stifling conditions, the two teams duked it out in the midfield for much of the first half, which ended in a scoreless tie. The best opportunity to score came from Open Bible, who was awarded a penalty kick, but missed it wide.

The Eagles cranked up the aggressiveness to open the second half and it paid off in the 51st minute as Hickman turned the corner, beat a defender and got OCA on the board.

A handball call on the Eagles shortly after the OCA goal gave the Warriors another chance to get on the board. The kick clanked off the crossbar and back into the field of play, right at the feet of the PK shooter. However, Ray was up the task and made the save to end the threat.

Lewis gave OCA some breathing room in the 66th minute, getting past the defense for a goal and, after some hard shots by Gilchrist and Epperson, Epperson tacked on the insurance goal in the 77th.

OCA had 15 shots on goal, while Ray finished with 12 saves as the Eagles improved to 3-0-1 overall.

"Overall, this was the toughest opponent we have faced this season and it came at a good time," head coach Dirk Dickson explained. "Playing on back-to-back nights in this heat and humidity is tough, both physically and mentally. When a team has to travel for hours, you're never sure if they are going to stay focused, but this team stayed focused and took another step closer to their season goal."

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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