The Wildcats held their own in the first half Friday night at Villa Rica, but with so many players playing both offense and defense, Woodland wore down and eventually lost by a score of 27-3.
“We’re going to have a hard time all year because so many of our players go both ways,” Woodland head coach Vincent DiLorenzo said. “These guys are having to go four quarters both ways, which is why it is so important to develop depth.”
Woodland’s defense was strong to begin the game and held Villa Rica to just three points for the majority of the first half.
However, a penalty and 7-yard loss on a running play forced the Wildcats to punt from their own end zone.
As a result, Villa Rica took over at Woodland’s 28-yard line with under two minutes to go and managed to score a touchdown on an 11-yard pass with 14 seconds remaining in the half to make the score 10-3.
“Their score at the end of the first half hurt us,” DiLorenzo said. “They say the last five minutes of the first half and first five minutes of the second half are the most important and we didn’t have a good series to start the second half either.”
Villa Rica’s touchdown to end the first half may have changed the momentum in Villa Rica’s favor. The home team had a long 14-play drive to add a field goal at the end of the third quarter. It then drove down the field to score a touchdown on a 19-yard pass play to begin the fourth quarter.
The following possession, Villa Rica scored after a four-play drive that included a 64-yard pass play to make the score 27-3.
“A couple of our breakdowns were because we didn’t play man coverage well,” DiLorenzo said. “The difference in the game was their secondary was good enough to play man coverage and ours didn’t do that well.”
Woodland’s fatigue was noticeable in the second half as the team went three-and-out on its first four possessions.
The Wildcats had a difficult time running the ball and only accounted for two yards on the ground in the half and 28 yards rushing for the game.
Villa Rica had 113 yards on the ground in the game and 269 yards passing.
Woodland did find success going to Qua Stocks.
Stocks had nine catches for 157, including one catch for 54 yards down to the Villa Rica 4-yard line.
“I felt like the Hulk on that play. I thought I was going to score,” Stocks said of his 54-yard catch and run. “Our quarterback noticed early in the game that their cornerback was playing tight defense on me. So whenever I got passed him, that was it.”
The Wildcats played strong defense throughout the early stages of the game, but could not withstand their effort and gave up some big plays in the passing game.
Isaiah Ross had 11 tackles in the game to lead the team. Quadre Allen had an interception in the first half to thwart a Villa Rica drive. Jermel Lewis also forced a fumble in the third quarter, which was recovered by Damek Lewis.
“I was proud of our defense. We hung in there,” DiLorenzo said. “Our defense gave it everything they had. We just had a couple of breakdowns that resulted in big plays.”
One aspect of the game that made it unique was Villa Rica’s female placekicker Taylor Tidaback. The senior went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts and 3-for-3 on extra points. Her longest field goal was from 39 yards out.
“Anytime a girl can play football, it’s great,” DiLorenzo said. “I know what a great game it is, so it’s great for a girl to feel like she can be a part of it.”
Woodland will have to get over the heartbreak of getting beaten next week as the team takes on region foe Allatoona on the road.