Second Half Surge Sends ‘Hawks into Round 2

Westwood’s Christian Brown (26) leaps the Woodruff defense. (Photo/Ross Burton)

BLYTHEWOOD – The Redhawks of Westwood High School met the Wolverines of Woodruff in the first playoff game in Westwood history. The Wolverines came out strong, but could not hold off the tough Redhawks, who landed themselves a 38-10 victory.

Early on it looked like Friday night might be the end of the line for Westwood, as Woodruff managed an impressive first drive. They received the kickoff on their own 12, and Ken Drummond returned the ball to their 29-yard line. Quarterback Keevon Gist used a combination of running and passing plays to work steadily downfield. Four first downs later, Gist hit Blake Bone in the Westwood red zone for another first down on the Redhawk 15-yard line. With four chances to score from the 15, it looked like a touchdown was in the bank for Woodruff. However, Anthony Friday caused Isaac Rice to fumble, which was recovered by Redhawk Antonio Maxwell.

The fumble gave Westwood the opportunity to show what their running game could be. Christian Brown carried the ball no less than eight times and quarterback Chris Patterson twice. Brown’s last carry was a handoff at the Woodruff 10-yard line, which he ran into the end zone for the score. Brandon Howard, perfect as usual, put the ball through the uprights for the point-after.

With 1:54 to go in the first quarter, the Wolverines started their drive on their 20-yard line after the kickoff landed in the end zone for the touchback. Woodruff wasted no time as Gist threw a bomb far downfield. The long pass was caught by Demajiay Rooks deep in Westwood territory. Another pass play from Gist to Bone looked like it would score, but Deante Drakeford, the Redhawk safety, stopped Bone on the 16-yard line. Two running plays later, Woodruff had a first-and-goal on the Redhawk 4-yard line. Isaac Rice got the ball from Gist, but a pile of Redhawk defenders caught Rice three yards behind the line of scrimmage. With three more tries to gain just seven yards, the stingy Westwood defense forced Woodruff to settle for a field goal making the score was 7-3, Westwood.

The kickoff by Woodruff was very poor, with Vyncint Smith signaling for the fair catch. The signal was not caught by some of the Wolverine defenders, and they were penalized, giving the Redhawks great field position across mid-field. However, Westwood could only manage to reach the Woodruff 23-yard line with eight yards to go for the first down. While 41 yards is far out of most teams’ field goal range, it was not for Westwood. The field goal unit came out and Howard split the uprights for three points.

Howard’s kickoff was brilliant, all the way to the 5-yard line where it was picked up by Drummond, who was stopped by Raymond Hall at the 12. Then Gist showed what he and his receivers could do. After three completions for a total of over 100 yards (a penalty and a sack cost Woodruff 14 yards during this drive), Gist hit Bone in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

On the following possession, Westwood had to punt, the only time in the entire game Westwood would have to punt. Woodruff would have to do the same with time running out in the half. Westwood got the ball with 16 seconds to go in the half. On the final play, Patterson fired a Hail Mary to Lee with no time on the clock. Unfortunately, Lee was down on the 1-yard line. Both teams went into the locker room with the score tied 10-10.

“You know we gave them too much leeway, we can’t give them an inch or they will make those catches,” Westwood head coach Rodney Summers said at the half. “When we get the ball we have to score, even if it’s just a field goal. We can’t be punting it away.”

With the score tied, Woodruff attempted an ill-advised onside kick to open the second half. The kick was picked up by Tyrel Gallman on the Westwood 43-yard line and carried to the Woodruff 40. The next eight plays were all carries by Brown except for a keeper by Patterson. None were big plays, but in combination, they were good for three first-downs and a touchdown from the 4-yard line. The Howard kick was good.

The Wolverines could not manage to score on their only possession of the third quarter, but the punt by Jake Smith was a good one, forcing the Redhawks to work from their own 5-yard line. The ensuing Redhawk possession would occupy 17 plays and would move the chains no less than seven times. The drive boasted only one big play when Patterson connected with Lee for a 25-yard catch. The remaining plays of the drive were short yardage by Brown runs or Patterson keepers. On the Woodruff 2-yard line, the Wolverines were called for a face mask violation which gave the Redhawks a first-and-goal on the Woodruff 1. With four tries in hand, stopping Brown from gaining one yard was mission impossible. The PAT from Howard was again perfect.

The fourth quarter was as good for Westwood as it was bad for Woodruff. Woodruff had little to offer, as they possessed the ball three times in the quarter, only to turn it over by way of two interceptions and a fumble. Westwood had an easy time scoring after the first interception by Anthony Douglas. It only took Brown three plays to get into the end zone.

On the next Redhawk possession, after Gist fumbled on a keeper, Brown made a big play by running the ball 38 yards close to the Woodruff red zone. That was Brown’s last play of the game, as he was replaced by Miquelle Canady. Canady filled Brown’s shoes admirably, running the ball 33 yards in three plays. The last play was a three-yard carry across the goal line. Howard again was successful and perfect on the night.

A desperation pass from Gist, intended for Bone, was intercepted by Drakeford. With 51 seconds left, Patterson took a knee to run out the clock.

“This is the third game in a row where nobody scored against us in the second half,” Summers said. “We take pride in that. We cured our third quarter problems. We talked about it again and we had to come out in the third quarter and make sure we win the second half. We made a couple of adjustments in our blocking schemes. They were getting us, but Coach Bonneville made a correction and it worked like a charm. That 17-play drive we had was huge. Chris Patterson passed and Adonus caught one and Vyncint caught one. Our defense played well all night long.”

The playoffs continue for Westwood at Greer High School on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

 

Woodruff – 0-10-0-0 – 10

Westwood – 7-3-14-14 – 38

First Quarter

West – Christian Brown 10 run. Brandon Howard kick. (1:54)

Second Quarter

Wood – Kyle Brittan 24 FG. (10:58)

West – B. Howard 41 FG. (7:50)

Wood – Blake Bone 35 pass from Keevon Gist. K. Brittan kick. (5:04)

Third Quarter

West – C. Brown 4 run. B. Howard kick. (8:34)

West – C. Brown 1 run. B. Howard kick. (00:00)

Fourth Quarter

West – C. Brown 10 run. B. Howard kick. (10:03)

West – Miquelle Canady 3 run. B. Howard kick. (3:53)

 

Westwood                                          Woodruff

First Downs                                        22                                                           14

Rushes/ Yards                                   59/397                                                  20/44

Passing Yards                                     95                                                           238

C-A-I                                                      4-6-0                                                      17-34-2

Fumbles/Lost                                    0-0                                                          2-1

Penalties/Yards                                                6-55                                                       6-35

 

RUSHING: Woodruff – Issac Rice 10-43, Jacob Adkins 3-0, Keevon Gist 10-(-2). Westwood – Christian Brown 40-257, Miquelle Canady 7-78, Chris Patterson 10-67.

RECEIVING: Woodruff – Blake Bone 7-132, Demajiay Rooks 5-84, Brandon Stites 1-23, Issac Rice 2-3, Ken Drummond 2-(-4). Westwood – Adonus Lee 2-64, Vyncint Smith 2-31.

PASSING: Woodruff – Keevon Gist 17-34, 238 yards 2 INT, TD. Westwood – Chris Patterson 4-6, 95 yards.