Woodgrove WRs Cameron Beebe and Price Williams celebrate (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruitNoVA)
In a nip and tuck game, Lake Taylor couldn’t pull out a last minute escape this time
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
It was a spot that Lake Taylor has grown to be comfortable with.
There was a little more than two minutes left on the game clock. The Titans had gotten a defensive stop and found themselves with the ball and a long expanse of open field ahead of them.
Against Woodgrove, they trailed by five, but had the big game experience under their belt for a comeback win. The comeback was squashed this time.On fourth down, instead of extending the drive, Jeff Foster was sacked at his own 10-yard line with 1:51 left in the game. That would end the title quest for the Titans.
“We got a lot of things to work on,” said Foster after the game.
Malik Newton came out of the loss motivated: “I can’t wait to get back in the weight room tomorrow.”
In their first title game appearance, Woodgrove proved themselves to be a worth adversary. All-Region 4C Offensive Player of the Year Graham Walker rose to the occasion, going 14 of 33 passing for 343 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, Walker rushed for 134 yards and another touchdown, accounting for five Wolverine TDs in the title game.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” said Lake Taylor head coach Hank Sawyer. “We did a lot of good things, but we did some things that were not so good and we came up short. I’m proud of the kids. I’m proud of the kids for getting here and and I’m proud of the kids for never giving up.”
Lake Taylor started the scoring with a 49-yard Malik Newton touchdown run. Woodgrove answered on a Graham Walker 12-yard touchdown pass to Price Williams. The PAT failed and Woodgrove trailed 7-6.
Early in the second quarter, Graham tossed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Krzys Miller. The two-point try failed and Woodgrove had a 12-7 lead
Lake Taylor answered, as they often did on Saturday, with a Malik Newton 70-yard touchdown run with 10:27 left in the half. Lake Taylor now led 14-12.
Walker led a sustained drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by K.J. Lewis to give the Wolverines an 18-14 lead. The Titans answered with a 55-yard touchdown run by Newton to give the lead back to Lake Taylor, 21-18.
Woodgrove got the last laugh in the first half on a Graham Walker 12-yard touchdown pass on fourth and ten. The Wolverines went into the locker room leading 24-21 at the half.
The second half was no less chaotic. Woodgrove would hold their lead for the rest of the game with the Titans chasing them at every turn.
Walker added a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion to give Woodgrove a 32-21 lead in the third quarter.
Jeff Foster found Ikeem Wright for a 58-yard touchdown pass that cut the Wolverine lead to 32-27 late in the third frame.
Walker got a 6-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and that was answered by a Foster to Wright 12-yard touchdown connection with 7:02 left in the game.
Woodgrove held a tenuous 38-33 lead, but managed to make it stick, giving the school their first football state championship.
Titan athlete Javon Harvey left the game with an injury and didn’t return for the second half. His defense in the secondary was missed the most as Lake Taylor had few answers for matching up with Woodgrove’s receiver corps.
FINAL: Woodgrove 38, Lake Taylor 33
– Andy Hilton