MURFREESBORO -- The numbers on the scoreboard read 53-0 as the final horn sounded in Oakland's blowout win over Mount Juliet, but the most impressive number of the contest may have been 16.
That was the amount of yards from scrimmage the Patriots defense allowed in its rout of the Golden Bears in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs Friday night at Ray Hughes Stadium.
"The last four or five weeks we've really gone to another level on defense," Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel said. "And we should. With the talent we have on defense we should be playing lights out and really since fall break against Baylor we have been really tough to move the ball on."
Oakland (10-1), which has allowed just 37 points over its last five games, next will host La Vergne in a second-round matchup at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14. The Patriots beat the Wolverines 47-0 back on Oct. 17.
Senior linebacker Josh Smith, a Vanderbilt commitment, led Oakland's defensive charge against Mt. Juliet with a big third quarter that included a sack for a safety and an interception for a touchdown.
"We're looking to build off of what we did in the regular season in this new season," Smith said. "Our main plan today was to go out and do the small things right, because that's what's going to carry us to the state championship."
Starting three sophomores on the offensive line, Mt. Juliet (5-6) was outmatched in the trenches, which led to pressure on senior quarterback Nolan Chowbay for most of the evening.
He was tackled for a loss eight times, and completed just five of his 17 pass attempts for 19 yards.
"Their linebackers-- Kevin Prather and Josh Smith-- are phenomenal athletes," Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry said. "In the moment it wasn't very fun, but was a joy watching them play football and studying them on film this week."
Mt. Juliet punted seven times, threw two interceptions, was sacked for a safety and turned the ball over on downs in 11 of its 12 possessions. The lone possession that did not result in failure was a brief stint with the ball before time ran out on the first half.
Oakland had success offensively with its ground attack, accumulating 372 rushing yards on 44 attempts. Running back Josh Cunningham led the Patriots with 128 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback JaCorey Smith added 109 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
"All in all I was really pleased with our effort," McDaniel said. "I think we're continuing to get better and I think we are peaking at the right time."
Perry added, "Oakland is a football team that is very senior-laden with a lot of experience. It reminds us of 2011 when they came to Mt. Juliet and we had the upperclassmen and they had the underclassmen.
"Of course, we won that playoff game. Those guys took that loss and turned it into this, and that is sort of our goal now. To be able to start eight sophomores and two freshmen, it is a remarkable experience for those guys that they can take with them into the off-season and have confidence moving forward to next year."
"We tried to get a lot of things out early with three sophomore offensive linemen against that defensive front. They've done a great job all year, but this was a tall task for them tonight."