CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- At one point during his team's 23-14 victory over Cleveland High School on Friday, Ooltewah football coach Shannon Williams tipped his imaginary hat to the Owls' defense.
After the effort they had put forth, it was well-deserved.
The Owls (3-0) shut down quarterback Chad Voytik and the Blue Raiders offense and spoiled Cleveland's first home game of the season with the District 5-AAA victory.
The visitors scored the final 20 points of the contest, getting touchdowns in all three phases of the game.
"Tonight was a total team victory," Williams said. "We did everything possible to lose that game; we lacked focus coming into tonight, and we have a lot to correct."
That might include penalties. Numerous yellow flags were found over the field during the course of the game, and multiple meetings between officials concerning measurements, penalties and markings of the ball led to a three-hour contest.
The pumped-up Raiders took a 14-3 advantage in the first quarter that took almost an hour to play, getting a 40-yard interception return by Jonathan Terrero and a 34-yard scoring strike from Voytik to D.J. Jones.
"You just have to give Ooltewah credit," Slaughter said. "They're very talented on defense; they've got athletes all over the field.
"We scored seven points on offense, but that's just not good enough."
Ooltewah got a rushing touchdown from Desmond Pittman 34 seconds into the second quarter, then took the lead for good on a 10-yard interception return for a score by Stuart Doss.
The Owls sealed the win on a 49-yard punt return for a score by Phillip McClain.
"Our defensive line did a great job of getting pressure on Voytik," Williams said. "Overall, we just made plays on all phases of the game.
"It wasn't according to plan, but I'll take it."
The Raiders are off to the first 0-3 start in the school's history. They host Central this week for their homecoming game.
"We're just not getting the job done on offense, but we're going to," Cleveland coach E.K. Slaughter said. "We've got some young guys who are getting better. They're going to click at the right time; I just hope it's next week."
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