Woodland faces challenge in Carrollton

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A week after being shut out 41-0 by a good Villa Rica team, the winless Woodland Wildcats will face another challenge against one of the best teams in their region, Carrollton.

It’s been a difficult season for the young Woodland team.

“Obviously our kids didn’t quit,” Wildcats coach Tony Plott said about last Friday’s loss to Villa Rica, Woodland’s 10th in a row dating back to last season. “They never quit. They kept fighting.”

This week, they’ll have to fight against a Carrollton team that’s already 3-0 after making it to the second round of the state playoffs last year.

The Trojans are a traditional power, having won seven state titles and 29 region championships in the program’s history.

“They’re a very good football team. They have lots of team speed, probably the most team speed that we’ve seen so far,” Plott said. “They’re solid all the way around. I expect them to go a couple rounds in the playoffs at least.”

Carrollton is led by junior quarterback Mark Wright, a dual-threat who’s thrown for 327 yards and three touchdowns and posted a 7.8 yards-per-carry average.

Their strong running game also features junior back Jaylan Thomas, who leads the team with 254 yards on the ground, and freshman Mecose Todd, who’s punched in five touchdowns to go along with his 127 yards through three games.

“They’re just athletes,” Plott said. “You can tell how athletic they are the minute you turn the film on.”

Wide receiver Jordan Bonner has 89 yards despite playing in just two of Carrollton’s games to round out their attack.

On defense, Carrollton primarily uses a 3-4 formation, with the three defensive linemen controlling the line of scrimmage and the outside linebackers both coming on delayed blitzes and dropping into coverage, according to Plott.

Cornerback LaDamion Hunt is a three-star recruit committed to Indiana. The 6-foot tall DB runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. Six-foot-2, 285-pound junior defensive tackle Josh Walker has also received high-major college interest.

Linebacker Reid Dedman has been a defensive force for Carrollton, racking up 21 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles through three games.

Attacking the Trojans will be a tall order for a Woodland team that’s scored just 27 points all season and has yet to face a defense the caliber of Carrollton’s.

Plott used sophomore running back Ant Lester early in the game against Villa Rica and said that helped the team, so expect to see more of that Friday.

On defense, Emmanuel Jones has been a welcomed bright spot for a unit that so far has not given up less than 31 points in any of Woodland’s four games.

The defensive end/linebacker punished Villa Rica with 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble last week.

Despite the record this season for the Wildcats, Plott hasn’t seen any cessation of effort from his team, and that won’t change even as they face an uphill battle Friday.

“We’re going to line up, and we don’t have anything to lose so we’ll throw the book at them, we’ll throw everything we’ve got,” Plott said. “At this point, right now you could say our backs are against the wall, expectations aren’t very high, so we don’t have anything to lose. We’ll give everything we can.”