Rudwall, defense pace Owls' victory

Rudwall, defense pace Owls' victory

October 1st, 2011 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

With 3:58 remaining and the Ooltewah defense facing a third-and-4 against Soddy-Daisy, Owls linebacker Jay Rudwall looked at his teammates in the huddle and yelled, "Seal the Deal!"

A few minutes before, the senior already had done that.

Rudwall snagged an interception and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown with 8:08 remaining -- the Owls' second pickoff score of the game -- and Ooltewah defeated the Trojans 42-14 in a District 5-AAA showdown at Soddy-Daisy.

The Owls' defense was on the field for 32 minutes, 47 seconds and faced 83 plays but allowed an average of less than 4 yards per play, had seven sacks, forced three turnovers and allowed only one touchdown in Soddy-Daisy's four trips into the red zone.

T.J. Warren took an interception 75 yards for a second-quarter TD.

The Owls (5-2, 2-1) face Bradley Central (4-2, 2-0) next week in a key district battle.

"A lot of tonight was redemption for us from last year," said Rudwall, who had 14 total tackles.

Soddy-Daisy won the 2010 meeting 19-0 at Ooltewah.

"We wanted to be aggressive and fast," Rudwall said. "The main focus this week was speed because we knew that they were a fast-paced team on offense. This was a huge game for us; it was a region opponent and we wanted to make a statement."

Ooltewah coach Shannon Williams said his defense's main concern was forcing turnovers, as the Owls had none in losses to Siegel and McMinn County.

"We'd been on them for not making plays," Williams said. "We did a good job of forcing turnovers, and I also thought we kept them from making the big play.

"Our defense is going to have to lead us this year. [Cedric Edwards] might have had a lot of yards, but we kept them from making a lot of big plays."

Edwards finished with 158 yards rushing on 30 carries for the Trojans (2-4, 1-2), but most came in the second half. He finished with 235 yards of total offense as he had six catches for 77 yards, including a 49-yard score off a screen pass. He had a 3-yard run for the Trojans' other score.

Soddy-Daisy quarterback Brett Standifer finished with 175 yards passing on 14-for-31 success.

The Owls' Philip McClain led the Owls with 138 yards rushing on 10 carries. He had an 84-yard kickoff return on the game's opening play called back due to a hold but still had the game's first score when he went around right end for a 55-yarder with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Desmond Pittman had 47 yards and a touchdown, and P.J. Toney made two 15-yard touchdown catches from Bradley Stephens. Calvin Murray had a nice one-handed interception while falling out of bounds late in the game for Ooltewah.

"This is a good win for us," Williams said. "We're going to need some of that to carry over into a huge region battle next week.