OV advances with win in quarterfinals, will head to BFA-Fairfax for tough semifinal matchup Saturday

Jared Denis (60) rushed for one touchdown and 47 yards against Oxbow on Saturday.

BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School football team is moving on to the semifinals after picking up a home win against Oxbow on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The 5-3 Otters came out fast and stayed in control of the game, winning by a score of 39-26.

The game was at a 7-7 tie early on, when the OV offense decided to go for it on fourth down. They were successful and that led to a 21-7 lead, and with only minutes left in the half, the Otters looked to be in firm control of the game.

Oxbow quarterback Cooper Simmons stayed calm under the playoff pressure, however, and led the Olympians down the field to cut the lead to 21-13 with only 23 seconds left in the half.

Brady Diaz caps off a 51-yard touchdown pass while eluding the Oxbow defender.

Then, incredibly, OV’s quarterback Alex Polli, who went 10-for-13 on the day for 207 yards, hit Brady Diaz for a 51-yard TD pass on their first play of possession after the kickoff, to extend OV’s lead to 26-13 before the halftime whistle blew.

Both teams would trade scores in the second half, as the Otters kept a double-digit lead to the finish.

Nate Blake, who has been exceptional all year for the Otters, ran for 132 yards and a touchdown as he broke 1,000 yards on the season. Senior Jared Denis rushed for 47 tough yards, usually right up the middle in short yardage situations, and once for a touchdown.

OV’s defense was tough to pass against, once again, coming up with two key interceptions against Simmons.

When Otters coach Kipp Denis spoke to The Reporter before the season, he said this was a young team that would need to mature fast. His goal for the season was to host a playoff game. They have accomplished that goal and now will look for more.

Spencer Pelkey (55) drags down Oxbow QB Cooper Simmons.

They will now head to Fairfax on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. Two weeks ago, that may have seemed a daunting task. At that time, the Bullets were 7-0 and headed to what looked like the number-one seed in the tournament.

That’s when the 4-3 Otters came to town and shocked the Fairfax team, upsetting them by a score of 38-36 and knocking them down to a number-two seed. Now, the Otters are headed back, looking to do it again.