WATSON — Live Oak found the exact antiseptic to rinse the bad taste brought on by a three-game losing streak.
Five lengthy scoring drives and an opportunistic defense did the trick.
Live Oak put together a balanced offensive attack, including a crunching ground game, to register a 33-14 victory Thursday over Broadmoor in District 4-5A action.
“It’s a long year and we’ve got some time to get on a roll and that’s what we hope to do,” Live Oak coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche said. “You have to take the first step, and I’m real proud of our kids. We’re at our best when our backs are against the wall and have been.”
Live Oak (2-4, 1-2) scored on four straight drives of 10 plays or more to take a 27-6 lead midway through the third quarter and added another near the end of the game to win for the first since Sept. 12 against St. Helena Central.
The average length of all the Eagles’ scoring drives was 88 yards, highlighted by a 97-yard series to open the third quarter with fullback Kyle Knapps scoring on a 6-yard run.
“The O-line really stepped up tonight and really dominated up front,” Live Oak quarterback Michael Claverie said. “I felt like they showed how tough our team can be tonight and we expect to be that tough from now on.”
Live Oak outgained Broadmoor 456-281, rushing the ball 50 times for 284 yards to compliment Claverie’s 10-of-12 passing for 172 yards.
With leading rusher Will Higginbotham out with an injury, the Eagles turned to Dillon Wang to lead the way with 16 carries for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Knapps added 94 yards on 12 attempts.
Junior tight end Hayes Legendre served as Claverie’s top target with six catches for 123 yards.
Broadmoor (2-4, 1-2) closed the gap to 27-14 with 2:13 left in the third quarter on quarterback Earl Butler’s 1-yard run and two-point conversion to Brian Smith.
The Buccaneers forced their first punt early in the fourth quarter, drove to the Eagles 17 where Butler’s fourth-down pass into the end zone fell incomplete with 6:22 to go.
Running back Broderick Dellihue topped the Bucs’ 249-yard rushing game with 121 yards on 14 carries followed by Butler with 13 attempts for 87 yards and two TDs.
Broadmoor co-head coach Elliott Wilkins lamented his team’s 12 penalties for 93 yards, including six defensive offside infractions, to go along with a key fumble at Live Oak’s 3-yard line that could have tied the game in the first quarter.
“Football’s a funny game,” Wilkins said. “Not only does the ball bounce funny, but you play how you practice. Our kids have practiced like this all week. As a coach the only thing you can do is put them in the right spot, work on certain things and tell them they’re going to do the shift and don’t jump. If it’s not important to them, it becomes a problem.”
Linebacker Preston Faulkner recovered the first down fumble and added an interception with 38 seconds showing left to solidify his team’s 21-6 halftime lead.
“Sometimes you need a punch in the gut to figure out how much things mean to you,” Musemeche said. “We’ll let everyone sleep on us but we’re going to keep playing hard.”