By the Dunn Family
Wolverines 24 – Cavaliers 7
Coming off back-to-back losses to open the 2013 football season, the Woodson Cavaliers hoped to get in the "win" column on Friday night when they hosted the West Potomac Wolverines on Woodson’s new turf field.
West Potomac had other plans, however, as it pulled away from Woodson late in the second half for a 24 – 7 win.
The game was played in front of a large Woodson pyramid “feeder night” crowd at Pat Cunningham Stadium.
Adding to the hopeful atmosphere was a pre-game ribbon-cutting ceremony to acknowledge all those who supported the successful “Turf Woodson” campaign.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game was very tightly contested most of the evening, with Woodson holding a 7 - 3 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines eventually broke into the end zone with 6:16 left in the game when all-purpose back Demornay Pierson-el capped a long drive with a short touchdown run to put West Potomac up 10 – 7.
After Pierson-el’s score Woodson’s late attempts to retake the lead fell short.
As the clock wound down in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines added two scores, including an interception returned for a touchdown, to account for the final margin of victory.
Following the pre-game ceremonies Woodson kicked off to start the game and opted for an on-sides kick. The try failed, however, and West Potomac fielded the kick in good position near midfield.
The Cavaliers’ defense, spurred by senior Anders Bright’s key tackle, rose up to stymie the Wolverines, forcing a punt.
Woodson then began its first offensive series at the 20-yard line after the punt. The Cavs started well and gained two first downs behind Tim Dempsey’s strong running.
Later, a Cavs’ fumble ended the drive near midfield, and the Wolverines regained possession at their 46-yard line.
On West Potomac’s second offensive series the Cavaliers’ defense again stopped the Wolverines. This time, Cavs’ defensive back Conor McLaughlin made the key play when he picked off Pierson-el’s pass in the end zone.
The interception gave Woodson the ball at its 20-yard line. But the Cavs’ second offensive series sputtered there, and they were forced to punt.
Following the punt West Potomac moved from midfield deep into Woodson territory. The Cavaliers’ defense, led by Zach Bosco and Jonathan Knight, eventually stiffened to hold West Potomac to a 28-yard field goal by Alex Parada.
The kick gave the Wolverines a 3 – 0 lead with just under eight minutes left in the first half.
Woodson’s best drive of the game followed the Wolverines’ score. Starting from deep in its own end of the field, Woodson moved smartly into scoring position.
Key plays early in the drive were completions from quarterback Patrick Riley to Conor McLaughlin for 18 yards and Jimmy McLaughlin for 16 yards. The Cavs then used runs by Brian Smiga to move deeper into West Potomac territory.
A completion from Riley to Jimmy McLaughlin then moved the ball down to the one-yard line to set up Woodson’s lone score of the game. Zane Pritchett finished the drive from there with scoring run up the middle. Jacob Oleyar added the extra point to give Woodson a 7 – 3 lead with 3:28 left in the first half.
The Wolverines drove down-field late in the half looking to counter the Cavaliers’ score, but then Woodson stopped West Potomac short of the goal line as the half ended.
Both teams played solid defense during the third and much of the quarter before West Potomac finally broke through for the winning score with just over six minutes left in the game.
The Wolverines’ winning drive started deep in their own territory following a Woodson punt. Pierson-el accounted for most of the yardage on the drive, primarily on runs from his shotgun position in the backfield.
Pierson-el finished the drive with a short run, and West Potomac moved in front of Woodson to stay 10 – 7.
Next up for Woodson is a trip to Alexandria to face the T.C. Williams Titans on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Were you at the game? Tell us about it in the comments.
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