The Wildcats’ quest for another berth in the playoffs stumbled out of the gate on Friday when Piedmont dropped a 28-7 decision to Woodward. Luckily for Piedmont, there is still a lot of football to be played this seaon.
Penalties and turnovers were Piedmont’s undoing against Woodward. After stalling on its first drive, a mishandled snap on the punt meant good field position for the Boomers. Woodward found the endzone through the air with 9:40 left in the first quarter to lead 7-0.
The Wildcat offense roared to life on the ensuing possession. Piedmont marched 60 yards before a Brett Adams pass was intercepted at the goalline and returned to midfield.
The defense for the home team played lights out in the first half, getting penetration and wrapping up the runner before he was able to gain any substantial yardage. However, the Boomers would pick off two more Adams passes in the first half, another of which came in the redzone. Both teams traded possessions in the second quarter before Woodward missed a field goal just before the break.
Woodward made the needed adjustments at halftime and came out exploiting something on the Piedmont defensive line. The Boomers ran left almost every play of that first drive and were able to go up 14-0 with 5:55 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats continued to fight despite the two score hole and were able to put a drive together. After narrowly converting a fourth and two and Adams connecting with Christian Foster in the redzone, Mitchell McGinnis was able to find the endzone with 2:28 left in the third.
Chewing up the clock became the name of the game for Woodward after Piedmont’s only score of the game. The Boomers scored at the 9:10 mark to go up 21-7. The Wildcats couldn’t put together a drive on their next two possessions and Woodward tacked on one final touchdown run with just over 49 seconds left in the ball game.
“It’s a tough one,” Coach Craig Church said. “We left about 20 points on the field in that first half. It’s hard to overcome a team that can eat the clock (like Woodward can). (Woodward made) good adjustments. We’re undersized and teams that can run like that will be tough for us to deal with. There is no magic bullet when you are as undersized as we are.
“They played hard tonight, though. It’s a long season. Penalties concerned me as much as anything. We’ll continue to focus on that in practice. The coaching staff is going to continue to work on that and try to improve that. This is the same Woodward team we beat last year at their place and we ended up going three, four in the district. They went into the playoffs and beat Douglass. It’s how you respond in the next games. It’s about us making improvements and continuing to get better.”