"When you have a start like that, people start jumping off the boat and stuff," said OCC freshman quarterback Zach Emde, whose one-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left finalized the scoring. "I'm really proud of the guys that hung in there. No one has gotten down at all. Everyone knows what we could do and we're planning on showing it the rest of the season."
What the Pirates (0-4) showed Saturday was a productive ground game that produced 244 yards and 17 rushing first downs. In three games coming in, OCC had produced a combined 184 rushing yards.
Emde completed 14 of 23 for 133 yards, mostly with short shots underneath coverage that also helped move the chains.
Sophomore kicker Lucas Vandeman boomed a school-record 55-yard field goal with one second left in the first half and also nailed field goals of 32 and 38 yards.
The defense, which had produced three sacks the first three games, collected four sacks, recovered one fumble and had a leaping interception by freshman corner Evan Law that led to their go-ahead touchdown midway through the final period.
Freshman tailback Bill Chimphalee, who came in with seven yards on four carries this season, pounded behind an impressive offensive line for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts against the Griffins (3-1), who came in ranked No. 3 in the state in team defense.
OCC freshman Robert Penny added 99 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts, as OCC's 24 first downs nearly matched its combined total in its first three contests (28).
"We stepped it up during practice," Chimphalee said. "We made a statement before Monday's practice and everyone had to step it up and work hard. We've got to do this every single week. We're tired of just losing."