E.A. Sports Today

Gamble to go in Oxford’s region opener

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Oxford’s versatile Tre Gamble is expected to play in Friday night’s region opener against Valley in spite of a rib injury that kept him out much of the second half last week at Gadsden City.

Yellow Jackets coach Ryan Herring confirmed Tuesday Gamble has a broken rib, but the senior still has every intention of playing.

“He’s a little different than the average cat,” Herring said. “I know when he was a sophomore he had a bad ankle sprain and the doctor said he’d be out four weeks and on Friday night he played. He’s as tough as they come.”

Gamble hurt his ribs in the first half of Friday’s 48-28 loss. He missed the last 20 minutes. Before he left the game, he had nine catches for 109 yards, 53 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns – on a 21-yard pass from Ty Webber and runs of 1 and 7 yards.

Of course, the player will be limited as to the things he can do, but even a little Gamble is a big threat. Southside’s concentration on him allowed Jake Cook to shine in the opener.

“If he’s dressed out on the field then they’d better know he’s out there,” Herring said. “He’s probably as good a running back as you’ll find; I know he’s a good receiver. You can’t have him in two places at once.”

Oxford’s home opener carries a lot more weight than just a first region game.

With the Jackets (1-1) playing in a new, southern-tier region this season, the outcome of this game could have big implications for the end of the season. Valley is 2-0, having beaten 2A Lanett (21-0) and 5A Greenville (7-6). The teams haven’t played since 2003.

“We had our warm-up game and our time to see where we made mistakes and we’ve got to get that all cleaned up because Friday night everything counts,” Herring said. “Slip up Friday and you might have to make a five-hour drive to Mobile in the opening round of the playoffs.

“Every region games is a determining factor for the first week of the playoffs. Of course, you always want to be at home.”

Even with Gamble on the sidelines, Oxford carried a 28-27 lead into the fourth quarter at Gadsden City. But the Titans scored three touchdowns in the quarter – two on big plays – to pull out the victory.

Herring likened the situation to what the Jackets faced last year at Clay-Chalkville. They lost that second game of the season 37-27, then won eight in a row to make the playoffs and reach the second round.

“Maybe we can do that,” Herring said.

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. He can be reached for comments or to pitch story ideas at musky@easportstoday.com and followed on Twitter @easportstoday1.

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