ROXANA – Football rivalries are special. When two rivals clash for the first time in 10 years, it is epic. That is what happened when the Roxana Shells football team took on the Wood River Oilers Friday night. With the fiery orange glow from the refinery and a slight drizzle, the scene was perfect for the contest under the lights of Roxana’s home field. It was a game that the Wood River Oilers would dominate and beat the Shells 34-0.
“It’s huge,” said Oiler head coach Garry Herron about his team’s victory. “Being a graduate of Wood River, playing Roxana when I was in school, and it’s hard to describe. Hopefully, tonight is the first step in getting that rivalry back.”
The head coach’s comments come on the heels of the first season in 10 years the Shells and the Oilers are in the same conference.
The first half of the game was close as the Oilers would only lead 6-0 thanks to a rushing touchdown from junior running back, Seth Slayden. Wood River’s head coach, Garry Herron, must have said the right thing during halftime. Slayden and the Oilers would more than double their offensive production in the second half of the game.
“The goal for the last couple of weeks has been fewer turnovers for us, and more on the other side. We looked at game stats and we were having four turnovers a game and losing by four turnovers," Coach Herron said.
“Players made plays tonight. Our line had one their best defensive games all year,” Herron added.
Bryce Hyde, a junior offensive, and defensive lineman set the tone for the second half with a fumble recovery for the Oilers. After the fumble recovery, the game quickly became a lopsided contest. The Shells would give the Oilers over 50-yards due to personal foul penalties and the Oilers took advantage by receiving touchdowns from senior quarterback Chase Keshner, sophomore running back Kiyu Stilts, and two more from Seth Slayden to end the game by a score of 34-0.
“Our defensive line played by far their best game all year," Coach Herron said. “Game film didn’t give (Evan) Wells justice. He’s big. We did a good job bottling him up and not giving him a lot of space to move. I for sure think our ability to keep him in tight spaces for sure helped our guys out.”
The Shells move to 1-7 and the Oilers move to 2-6 on their respective seasons with only one more game to go. A young Roxana team will look to take the hard lessons learned and turn them into positives for their last game. Meanwhile, the Oilers will look to carry their strong performance into next week for their final season contest against the Musketeers from Red Bud High School.
Roxana closes with a contest at Sparta at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22. To catch the Oilers' final game, please visit East Alton-Wood River High School as they take on the Red Bud High School Musketeers at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22.