By MARK TRIBLE
Glory Days Football Writer
CAMDEN — It looked slightly different on the sideline here Saturday at Woodrow Wilson High School. The coach who’d resurrected a dormant Tigers’ football program wasn’t around. Instead, the man he’d tabbed to run his defense in recent years stood at the helm.
Brandon Bather, the first-year head coach who’d served as defensive coordinator, officially took the sideline baton from Preston Brown with the 1 p.m. kickoff against West Deptford.
It’s only apt that the defense helped spark a 28-7 triumph over the Eagles. Nasz’ir “NuNu” Oglesby did his part — and then some — as well.
Oglesby ran 22 times for 192 yards and four scores. He grabbed five passes for 42 more yards. The senior smiled at the way he’d been relied on and his coach couldn’t get enough.
“192?” Bather, the Nashville native who originally came to this to the area due to his work with NFL Films, said. “Running the ball is a personality trait, alright? If you’re not tough, if you can’t put your heels in the ground and push through obstacles, then you’ll never be successful in life.
“The way we ran the ball today, it shows a lot of promise. It shows the guys that, look, when it’s time to get down and dirty, we can do that.”
Behind a nice-sized and talented offensive line, Oglesby caught a head of steam. He also broke plenty of tackle attempts once he reached the second level for Wilson (1-0).
“It felt good, but I couldn’t do anything without them,” the 5-foot-11, 205-pound back said. “I felt like we could run the ball and you know how Wilson is known for passing.
“It just felt good that people see that we can run the ball now, too.”
Folks saw that early. The first drive — a 5-play, 80-yard march in little less than three minutes — ended with Oglesby’s 3-yard run.
West Deptford (0-2) freshman quarterback Deandre Ruffin got around the end for a 23-yard score on the next possession. The Eagles took a 7-6 lead but didn’t really threaten again after that thanks a stingy front seven in black-and-orange.
“We’ve been watching film for two weeks,” senior linebacker Damir McCrary said. “It was only right to come on the field and dominate.
“We practiced perfection and it showed on the scoreboard.”
Oglesby sprinted 55 yards for six early with 8:27 to play before halftime. Late in the third, he got in the summary again with a 7-yard run.
His 29-yard jaunt with 4:45 to play capped the points.
“Four touchdowns? Four is crazy!” McCrary said. “Not one, not two, not three, but four? Four is crazy. That’s my boy, too, he’s coming for everything right now.
“He doesn’t have any offers right now but by the end of the season, he will.”
If this recipe remains the same, there’s reason to expect that steady rise out of Oglesby’s stock. Most teams game plan for quarterback Devin Kargman and his array of weapons at receiver. However, you can only rob Peter to pay Paul so often before the jig is up.
Bather understands that well.
“Just being able to play proper football, to run the ball and take what they give you, then as you run it the seams open up and you are able to start gashing them,” the Tennessee State grad explained. “But if you don’t be honest to the game, the game won’t treat you right.”
“Run the ball, ring it up. You’ve got to be able to stick to the winning recipe. Good defense, stop the run, offense you run the ball and control the game.”
At times it looked a little different. Overall, it mostly remained the same. A talented troop of Tigers outmanned a foe on Federal Street. Even without Brown, the narrow sideline had many of the same faces with the same vibes as before.
“We definitely miss him,” Oglesby said. “But it’s the same environment. Everything’s good.”
Bather didn’t let things skip a beat.
“Preston’s always with us man, this is his school,” the coach said. “He’s the reason I’m here, he trusted me to be around.
“Everything we do, we’ve got to give credit to where it started. Before we came out today, we talked and said, ‘Look, we want to keep this thing rolling. We don’t want to let this thing die.’”
It looked alive and well on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Trible covers high school football for Glory Days Magazine. Check out his weekly Facebook Live show every Wednesday at 7 p.m. The South Jersey Football Frenzy Show can be seen at facebook.com/acglorydays