Blackford Oakes

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Blackford Oakes
Oakes attending a Denver Broncos game
Oakes attending a Denver Broncos game
No. 33 – New Orleans Second Line
Position:Free Safety
Personal information
Born: (1998-05-20)May 20, 1998 (aged 49)
Denver, CO
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Username:Beaver
Career information
High school:Ralston Valley Senior High School
College:Notre Dame
ISFL Draft:S4 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NSFL statistics as of Week 14, 2028
Total tackles:781
Pass deflections:94
Interceptions:41
Forced fumbles:9
Sacks:43
Total touchdowns:7
Kick return yards:2,580
Player stats at ISFL.net

Blackford Oakes (born May 20, 1998) is an American football free safety for the New Orleans Second Line of the National Simulation Football League (NSFL). He played college football for Notre Dame.

Early years

A native of Denver, Colorado, Delacour attended Ralston Valley Senior High School, where he played safety and some wide receiver and served as captain. Oakes also captained the school's wrestling team. Oakes' parents met while attending Notre Dame and despite growing up in Colorado he was raised a Notre Dame fan from an early age. His sophomore year of high school after a big win over Arvada West a scout introduced himself to Oakes and a few years later Notre Dame offered him a scholarship.

College career

Delacour accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Notre Dame and played a full four seasons. After a solid career for his boyhood team was most notable because his teams never lost to Southern Cal or Michigan.

Professional career

Blackford Oakes made the jump directly from college into DSFL waivers. Due to a paperwork snafu he was claimed by the Tijuana Luchadores but never actually appeared in a game for them. Due to his draft class being split thanks to the newly introduced DSFL Draft there were few high-end prospects (and few prospects in general) and the draft was very predictable. Indeed, 40 of the 100 submitted mock drafts got all 8 picks of the first round correct and 85 got at least 6 picks correct[1]. As expected, Oakes went 2nd overall to the Las Vegas Legion. He had been linked to the team because of several factors, including Arizona's affinity for Noah Goodson at 1st overall, Oakes' connection to the Legion's Connor Tanner, and the fact that the Legion had 5 of the 8 first round picks. Post draft coverage praised this selection[2] for the Legion who desperately needed secondary help after finishing dead last in the league in pass defense for their first two years of their existence.

Oakes started out slow in his rookie season, recording 9 tackles, 1 sack, and nothing else in his first two contests. Week 3 against the Yellowknife Wraiths he would record his first career pass defense and interception followed the next week with two more passes defensed and two more interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown that put the game out of reach. Oakes was named Defensive Player of the Game. He finished his rookie season tied for the team lead in interceptions and third in tackles en route to winning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Things went from good to bad very quickly after the season as much of the team retired en masse and it looked like the team would take a step back even from their lowly 3-11 season.

His sophomore campaign was excruciating as the Legion went 1-13 and his own personal play regressed. The season was underscored by losing twice to a Yeti team that would finish the year 2-12, their only wins coming against Las Vegas. Oakes swore that would never happen again. The team moved to New Orleans after the season for a much-needed fresh start. Oakes needed one, too.

2021 started out with promising signs as Oakes stuffed the stat sheets and the team hung tough with Arizona in a Week 3 loss before playing Yellowknife to a tie in Week 4. Oakes recorded 10 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception and was named Defensive Player of the Game for the first time since his rookie season. The team would finish the season 2-11-1 with their only two wins coming against the Yeti in a satisfying reversal of roles.

The Second Line continued to slowly build and finally challenged for a playoff spot in 2022. The season started out with an absolute bang Week 1 against Arizona as the Second Line trailed by 15 points with 12 minutes to play. Borkus Maximus III took over from his own 35 and led New Orleans down the field to pull within 8 with 8:30 on the clock. Borkus went 5/7 for 48 yards and a touchdown on that much-needed drive. After the teams traded punts, Arizona took over on their 20 with just 5:31 left in the game. On a 3rd and 13 play from his own 31, King Bronko threw an interception that Oakes returned for a touchdown. The two-point conversion would be successful and the game was tied. After an offense-heavy regulation the defenses took over in overtime with neither team able to drive. We saw 4 straight punts before New Orleans faced a 4th and 1 from midfield. Earlier, in the 4th quarter and then in overtime, New Orleans had elected to punt twice while inside the opposing 40 yard line, the first being a 4th and 9 punt that set up Oakes' interception and the second being a 4th and 4 punt after the first drive of overtime. Despite those conservative calls, New Orleans elected to try for it on 4th down here but were unable to convert. Arizona drove 24 yards in over 3 minutes and kicked the game winning field goal with 51 seconds left. The game also featured a wild second quarter that included Oakes scoring a kick return touchdown.

After an 0-4 start that included another heartbreaking loss against Yellowknife by 2 points the team was feeling optimistic about the relatively easy finish to the season. The ASFC looked to be having a down year and the Second Line took advantage Week 5 by beating San Jose at home to pull within 1 game of a playoff spot. Oakes was named Defensive Player of the Game the following week against Orange County in a game that they led 22-21 in the 4th quarter before surrendering two late touchdowns. In Week 8 New Orleans had the good fortune to face Colorado and took full advantage in a 38-3 blowout that set many franchise records: most points scored, fewest points allowed, and largest margin of victory. Oakes was again named Defensive Player of the Game for his 8 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception return for touchdown that put the Second Line up 21-3 in the first half and essentially sealed the game. Despite being 2-6 at this point, New Orleans was still just 1 game out of the playoff race as San Jose was sitting at 3-5 and Arizona at 1-7. New Orleans also had another game against Colorado and a game each against San Jose and Arizona on their schedule.

Heartbreak would again find the Second Line as they'd lose 23-21 to the Sabrecats the following week on an Iyah Blewitt field goal with 21 seconds remaining. Oakes was named Defensive Player of the Game for his 13 tackles, including 3 on the do-or-die drive. Oakes would be named Defensive Player of the Game again in a Week 12 loss in Philadelphia. After that loss the Second Line had games against Colorado and Arizona to finish out the year and were sitting 2 games behind the 5-7 Sabrecats in a tie with the 3-9 Outlaws. There was a still a chance for the franchise's first ever playoff berth but it was slim. New Orleans did what it needed to with a 26-7 drubbing of the Yeti and Oakes himself had 2 interceptions and got some luck with Arizona barely beating San Jose to keep all 3 teams alive going into the season's final game. San Jose lost to Orange County meaning that the New Orleans-Arizona game became a play-in game (except in a few very specific circumstances). The Second Line played well but ultimately fell short 20-19 despite outgaining the Outlaws 401-204 thanks to 3 turnovers and 0 takeaways.

Despite coming up short the previous season, much of the NSFL expected New Orleans to make the playoffs in 2023. When faced with these expectations, the team and Oakes stepped up to meet them. For the second consecutive season Oakes set a personal high in interceptions as he snagged 6 in addition to forcing and recovering a fumble to supplement his 84 tackles and 8 sacks. He also saw some time on the offensive side of the ball, catching 8 passes for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. After a slow 2-4 start to the season the team found its groove and rattled off 6 wins in a row to clinch a playoff spot, including blowouts of Colorado (38-19), Arizona (55-21), and Orange County (33-10) at home and San Jose (40-6) on the road. With New Orleans and Orange County in the playoffs all that was left to decide was who would host the franchise's first ever playoff game. New Orleans went into their Week 13 tilt in Orange County with an 8-4 record, just one game behind their opponents' 9-3. The winner of this game would secure the key homefield advantage for the playoffs and both teams came to play. The Otters had a slim 14-13 lead at halftime but early in the 4th quarter Maximus found Dustin Evans for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Second Line up 26-21. When the Otters got the ball back, Mike Boss found Carlito Crush on a 3rd and 12 hook route but Oakes was able to pull him down short of the sticks to force an Otters punt. New Orleans burned 2 minutes off the clock before booting the ball back to Boss and the Otters but a huge Fuego Wozy sack on 3rd and 1 forced another punt. The Second Line were able to milk another minute off the clock but after the punt return the Otters took over on their own 46 with 6 minutes to play and needing a touchdown. The Otters steadily moved down the field with short gains and soon found themselves within striking distance with a 1st and 10 on the 21. A dropped pass and a 1 yard rush set up a critical 3rd down with just over 2 minutes remaining. Boss was able to find Tegan Atwell but Oakes brought the speedy receiver to a stop after just 4 yards, setting up a 4th and 5 with the game on the line. Unfortunately, Boss then found Bradley Westfield for a 16 yard touchdown that put the Otters ahead for good and escaped with a 1-point win. In the final regular season game, the Second Line took their frustration at the missed opportunity on the Sabrecats with a resounding 51-6 drubbing while the Otters fell to the Outlaws on the road. The anticipated playoff match-up lived up to the hype as the defenses traded blows. Soon after a field goal gave the Second Line a 10-0 first half lead, Oakes stepped in front of a Mike Boss pass intended for Carlito Crush but Ian Bavitz got it right back for his team in an exchange symbolic of how the game went. That would be Oakes' last impact on the game as he had a quiet second half that saw the Otters score a touchdown with 2:37 remaining to tie the game only to watch New Orleans march down and kick a 46-yard game-winning field goal to advance to their first-ever Ultimus. Oakes' first ever trip to the championship game went a lot better than his first ever playoff game. Matched up against the Yellowknife Wraiths and notorious cheater Dermot Lavelle Oakes recorded 9 tackles plus a sack and defended pass but a big third quarter from the Wraiths was too much to overcome and the Dooters lost 24-13. Oakes would be honored with the Defensive Back of the Year award following the season.

Going into Season 9 the secret was out and the Second Line were considered one of the Ultimus favorites and their 6-0 start did nothing to temper those expectation. The Second Line finished the season 12-2 with losses on the road to Baltimore and at home to Yellowknife. After sweeping the Otters, the Second Line would need to find a third win against them to advance to the Ultimus again and that is exactly what they did. Jumping out to a 16-0 lead in the second quarter and a 36-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter the Dooters were able to dispatch the Otters 39-21. Oakes had 3 big tackles in the first quarter that helped the Second Line build a lead and a huge sack of Mike Boss on 3rd and 12 early in the second quarter that forced a punt. The ensuing drive would end in the touchdown that put New Orleans ahead 16-0. Oakes finished with 7 tackles and a sack. In the Ultimus, the Second Line would face one of the teams that beat them in the regular season, the Baltimore Hawks. The streaky game saw the Hawks jump out to a 14-2 lead (Wozy secured his second safety of the playoffs) before the Second Line stormed back to take a 19-14 lead into halftime. The Hawks would score the only 10 points in the third quarter to regain the lead, 24-19, but would ultimately fall short as New Orleans scored the final 18 points of the game to win 37-24. Oakes had another quiet game with just 2 tackles that weren't particularly impactful.

Baltimore and New Orleans felt like they were on a collision course in Season 10 as rookie Gus TT Showbiz took over at quarterback for aging legend Mike Boss and the season bore that out. New Orleans only dropped games on the road to Orange County, Yellowknife, and Baltimore and Baltimore only dropped their road game in New Orleans. The third consecutive New Orleans-Orange County ASFC Championship was the most defensive to date as a Bradley Madlad field goal in the second quarter was the first scoring of the game. Darren Smallwood caught a 6 yard touchdown pass from Maximus in the third for the only touchdown of the game and the Dooters were headed to their third consecutive championship game after a 10-3 win. The tone was set on the very first possession as Jayce Tuck and Oakes sacked Showbiz on back-to-back plays to force a punt on the first possession of the game. Oakes would add another 3rd down, possession-stopping tackle in the third quarter to end the game with 6 tackles and 1 sack. The Ultimus, however, was quite offensive. This time New Orleans jumped out to an early 17-7 lead before three Turk Turkleton field goals put the halftime scoreline at 17-16. A fourth field goal in the third quarter gave Baltimore a brief lead before former hawk Alexandre LeClair scored a touchdown to take it back. Trey Willie found the end zone late in the third quarter to give Baltimore a 26-23 lead they wouldn't relinquish but just in case, Turkleton kicked a fifth field goal to make the final score 29-23. Oakes had 9 tackles, including one that was critical to ending a drive and one that ensured the Hawks wouldn't score a touchdown just before halftime.

After a down season at 7-7 the Otters regained their form in Season 11 to make it a three horse race. With the Second Line only dropping road games to Yellowknife, Orange County, and Colorado they hosted the ASFC Championship Game for the third consecutive season and faced off against the Otters for the fourth consecutive season. Unlike the previous editions, this one was a blowout as New Orleans dropped 40 points on an Otter defense that had only allowed that many once that season. Oakes had 7 tackles and a sack but little impact on the game as it wasn't particularly close for long. For the third consecutive season the road for New Orleans was exactly the same: beat Orange County then face Baltimore in the Ultimus. In what is widely considered to be the best Ultimus in NSFL history, New Orleans claimed their second championship with a 42-36 overtime victory. At no point in the game did either team have a lead of more than 8 points and a missed 2-point conversion for the Hawks and a successful one for New Orleans set the stage for a late Turkleton field goal to send the game to overtime. After the defense forced a punt on the Hawks' opening drive, the offense drove to the 26 before being pushed back 10 yards due to penalties and being forced to punt. Again, the defense came up big with a three-and-out to give the offense a chance but the resulting drive stalled out at the Baltimore 46. But again the defense held strong and Lo Rax's third down sack forced another three-and-out. This time Darren Smallwood wouldn't be denied as he registered 5 rushes for 17 yards to keep the sticks moving before catching a 6 yard pass to win the championship. Oakes had 9 tackles but just one in overtime.

Blackford Oakes' induction plaque

Following the Season 11 triumph, the Second Line underwent quite a change as older players retired and younger players were traded off to recoup assets. Oakes was one of these as he was sent to familiar foe Baltimore after Week 1 along with $1m in cap space and an S14 3rd round pick in exchange for Grayson Kuusela and Aksel Danielsson, two young players. With many of the earliest NSFL players retiring and recreating around this time the league went through some upheaval that saw four teams finish within 1 game of 0.500. Baltimore won the NSFC by a single game thanks to two absolute beat-downs of the Philadelphia Liberty - 57-28 in the game before Oakes arrived and 51-7 in Week 8. Thanks to this the Hawks hosted their playoff game and though this one was very close, Baltimore won 30-24 in overtime. An Oakes interception return in the second quarter helped set up a touchdown that would prove crucial and then with less than 3 minutes remaining in regulation and the game tied, Oakes tackled Jordan von Matt on a 3rd-and-22 that forced a punt. Philadelphia got the ball to start overtime but Marquise Brown could only muster 2 yards on 2nd-and-10 and dropped a pass on 3rd down and Philadelphia wouldn't see the ball again and the Hawks drove 85 yards to win. Oakes would face a familiar foe in the Ultimus as Orange County beat San Jose 35-10 and would have a pretty good game but the Otters would prevail 48-24 thanks to a 21-point third quarter that broke the game open. Oakes had 4 tackles, 4 passes defended, a forced fumble, and an interception return for touchdown but it was too little, too late. He would earn Defensive Player of the Game honors, however, to go along with his second Defensive Back of the Year award.

After the Ultimus the Colorado Yet made it known that they were all-in to try to compete for a championship before it was too late for their roster. Among other moves, they traded an S13 2nd round pick, an S14 1st and 2nd, and an S15 2nd to Baltimore in exchange for one season of Oakes, Verso L'Alto, and $5m in cap space. The Yeti had an up and down season but a Week 14 victory against Yellowknife in which Oakes had 7 tackles and a sack was enough to get them home field in the NSFC Championship Game against Philadelphia thanks to the Liberty losing to San Jose the same day. In the regular season the Yeti demolished the Liberty at home 59-0 and squeaked out a 30-26 win on the road. In the two games Oakes had 12 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery and then added 5 tackles and an interception in the playoffs in a 50-27 victory that wasn't even that close. For the sixth consecutive playoffs, Oakes would play against the Otters as they once again beat San Jose. Oakes had 8 tackles and a defended pass but the Yeti fell 3 points short in a 24-21 loss. Oakes had a 21 yard punt return that helped set up a late touchdown drive that made the score a bit closer than it probably should have been.

As per the arrangement, Oakes opted out of the rest of his contract and re-signed in Baltimore shortly before announcing his intention to retire following Season 14.

Blackford Oakes was inducted into the NSFL Hall of Fame in 2033 as a New Orleans Second Line, garnering 15 of a possible 16 votes and just shy of being the ninth unanimous inductee. He was the second safety inducted and, as a player that spent his entire career at the position, was the first (and still, as of writing, only) true safety inducted.



Professional career statistics

Career statistics Tackles Sacks Interceptions Other Defense Offense Special Teams
Season Team Games Reg TFL Total Sack Int Yds IntTD DefTD FFum FRec PD Safety Catches Rec Yds TDs KR Yds KR TD PR Yds PR TD
2019 LVL 14 72 0 72 1 4 52 1 1 2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020 LVL 14 61 0 61 0 4 63 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 898 0 0 0
2021 NOLA 14 103 0 103 2 3 74 0 0 2 1 4 0 0 0 0 600 0 0 0
2022 NOLA 14 78 0 78 16 5 179 2 2 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 1031 1 0 0
2023 NOLA 14 84 0 84 8 6 103 0 0 1 1 8 0 8 169 2 0 0 0 0
2024 NOLA 14 58 0 58 2 4 45 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2025 NOLA 14 85 0 85 8 1 35 1 1 2 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2026 NOLA 14 75 0 75 2 2 132 1 1 0 0 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2027 BAL 14 80 0 80 0 7 63 0 0 1 0 25 0 0 0 0 51 0 0 0
2028 COL 14 85 0 85 4 5 67 1 1 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 210 1
2029 BAL 14 60 1 61 5 5 43 0 0 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 168 841 1 842 48 46 856 6 6 10 4 99 0 8 169 2 2580 1 210 1

Achievements and Records

Awards

Team
Individual

NSFL records

New Orleans Second Line franchise records

  • 2022; Set NOLA franchise record for most interception return yards in a game (91 vs YKW)
  • 2022; Set NOLA franchise record for most interception return yards in a season (179)

Hall of Fame

References