EVENSVILLE, Tenn. — For the first time in six weeks, Ooltewah football coach Shannon Williams was able to put the starting offensive line out there that he wanted.
Running back Desmond Pittman took advantage of it, too, running for 228 yards and two touchdowns while Brody Binder threw two scoring passes to Mike Williams in the Owls' 33-6 District 5-AAA victory at Rhea County.
Pittman had his second straight 200-yard game. He gained 248 yards in a win over Bradley Central a week earlier.
"About a fourth of the way through the season, a light came on for him," Williams said. "He's improved greatly, and at 225 pounds it's impossible for one man to bring him down."
Pittman also was credited with three tackles for loss and two sacks in Ooltewah's fourth straight win.
"That's about as good a night as you're going to have, and he has earned everything he's getting," Williams said of the junior. "He has overcome all kinds of adversity."
Ooltewah went up quickly as Binder hit Williams for 23 yards and then for 80 on a third-and-long. Williams had three catches in the game, for 126 yards.
A 3-yard Pittman run provided a 21-0 halftime advantage.
Williams was elated to get the win behind him. He was concerned after a week of practice sessions during fall break with no school.
"There were a lot of distractions, and I knew we'd get [Rhea County's] best shot," he said. "They're still playing very hard. We got on them early, but then we seemed to lose our focus."
The Owls seemed to regain that focus in the second half, getting a major shot of revitalization on a 94-yard interception return by Shawn Montgomery with 4:37 left in the third quarter. Then Pittman scored on a 14-yard run with 17 seconds left in the period.
Rhea's score came on a 1-yard run by Austin Dotson with 5:37 left in the game.
Ooltewah (6-3) has an open date next week before closing out the season at Walker Valley. Rhea County stays at home to play Walker Valley and then closes out the season at Cleveland.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...