When Blessed Trinity failed to connect on a deep pass on the opening play from scrimmage, the Woodland football team probably let out a collective sigh of relief. There wasn’t much time to …
When Blessed Trinity failed to connect on a deep pass on the opening play from scrimmage, the Woodland football team probably let out a collective sigh of relief.
However, there wasn’t much time to exhale the rest of Friday's Region 7-AAAAA game in Roswell.
The Titans scored a 60-yard touchdown on the ensuing play, and Class 5A’s No. 2 team wound up finishing with six rushing scores in a 49-0 victory over the Wildcats.
“I saw a bunch of kids out there that I love,” Woodland head coach Tony Plott said. “I have a deep appreciation for the things they’ve done for me over the years. … It’s people I’m proud of. They’re going to be men that we’re proud of for years.”
While the Wildcats (4-4, 1-4) entered the night with a chance to earn a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs, any thoughts of upsetting the three-time 4A state champions quickly evaporated.
Following the initial incomplete pass, the Titans (6-0, 4-0) scored touchdowns on their next three plays — rushing touchdowns from 60, 77 and 44 yards, respectively. Blessed Trinity then blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a 28-0 lead less than eight minutes into the first quarter.
A pair of 17-yard touchdowns in the second quarter extended the Titans’ lead to 42-0 at halftime. Blessed Trinity added another rushing score — this one from 4 yards away — in the third quarter to set the final score.
Meanwhile, the Woodland offense moved the ball a few times. The Wildcats, though, threw a pair of interceptions — including a pick just outside the red zone on their opening series — and turned the ball over on downs once in Titans territory.
Both Woodland quarterbacks who saw action in the game are set to return next season.
Sophomore Chase Carson had a few nice gains on the opening drive, including a 29-yard run that marked the team’s longest play from scrimmage. Freshman Brelace Williams also saw plenty of snaps in place of senior Johnathan Thomas, who missed most of the second half of the season with an injury.
Thomas and the team’s other seniors went through an unconventional final year, with no spring practices and a summer filled with restrictions. Even after having the season paused for three weeks due to COVID-19, the Wildcats went out with a victory in their final home game last week.
“They’re probably one of the closest groups of guys we’ve ever had come through here,” Plott said of the seniors. “They don’t just talk the talk. They live it every day. … They really do truly have a love for each other. You can see it when they’re out here together.”
Given the way the offseason and regular season went, Woodland, which started 3-0 before the shutdown, will feel like it probably could have managed better results in a normal year. Obviously, nothing about 2020 could be considered normal, and the Wildcats’ ability to bounce back from an unprecedented midseason hiatus should be lauded.
In the end, Woodland finished the year with a .500 record for the first time since 2008.
“I think it shows the character they have, some of the toughness they have and the ability to overcome adversity,” Plott said. “Those are all characteristics we talk about. Those are the characteristics they’re going to need one day in life. When they have a family of their own, they’re going to have to be able to do those things. They showed it this season, as wild as it’s been.”