PSN Game of the Week: Woodland and Grady Battle, Wolfpack's 38-Yard Field Gives Woodland the Win
Prep Sports Nation's "Game of the Week" featured a second round Georgia High School Association Class 5A State football playoff match-up between the Grady Knights and the Woodland Wolfpack out of Stockbridge. Both teams came into the night off big wins in the opening round of the playoffs, as Grady defeated Walnut Grove 42-8 and Woodland knocked off New Hamstead 39-6. As expected, the first half of the game saw both explosive offenses go to work, as Grady struck first courtesy of a 5-yd read option run by Sr. quarterback #3 Caylin Newton as the Knights took a 7-0 lead. The Wolfpack offense was slow to get anything going and was forced to punt the ball their first possession of the game, but the Woodland defense picked off Newton for an interception with six minutes to go in the first quarter. On their ensuing drive, the Wolfpack drove the ball 76 yards and scored after Sr. running back #3 Tre' Allen rushed 4 yards into the end zone as the Wolfpack went on to tie the game 7-7 with one minute left in the opening period.
Grady wasted no time answering back on their following possession as the Knights found the end zone after Sr. running back #26 Jeffrey Black run the ball in for the 20-yd score, with Grady going back on top 14-7 just one minute into the second quarter. After receiving the ball on the kickoff, Woodland's offense had no answer for Grady on their drive and was forced to punt the ball back to the Knights. Grady would start their next drive at their own 37-yd line and would once again find the end zone after Newton connected with Sr. wide receiver #10 Jacquez Sloan for a 28-yd touchdown pass giving the Knights a 14 point lead as they went up 21-7 with five minutes to go in the first half. Woodland would answer right back on their next possession after driving down the field and Allen punching in for the score on a 1-yd run making it a 21-14 game with one minute in the half. Grady, unable to respond to Woodland's scoring drive, was forced to punt the ball back over to the Wolfpack and settle for a 21-14 lead at the half.
In the second half, it was the defense's turn to make their impact as Grady's defense came up with an interception as Sr. cornerback #8 Dimarcus Clay picked off Woodland's Sr. quarterback #9 Reid Larsen and returned it to the Woodland 31-yd line. Back on the field, the Wolfpack would get a big defensive stance as the forced Grady to turn the ball over on downs, after the Knights failed to convert on a 4th and 6. With possession of the ball at the Grady 10-yd line, Woodland would drive the ball 86 yards and cap off the drive with a 4-yd touchdown run by Sr. running back #20 Christopher Charles as the Wolfpack would tie the game at 21-21 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
In the final period of the game, neither offense could find a way to score as Grady missed a field goal with 8:50 left in the game, which would have given them a 3 point lead. With 3:24 left in the contest, Woodland found themselves at the Grady 20-yd line but was not able to convert a 4th and 4 turning the ball over on downs to the Knights. Grady would take over at their own 26-yd line and drive to the Woodland 38-yd line before the Wolfpack would pick off Newton for a second time as Woodland's Sr. cornerback #2 Shakur Brown came up with the interception with under a minute to go in the game. The Wolfpack would start at their own 32-yd line and after a few plays and penalties against the Knights, Woodland found themselves at the Grady 28-yd line with 3.3 seconds left in the contest.
The Wolf pack would send the field goal unit onto the field on their first attempt, Grady's head coach Earthwind would call timeout in efforts to ice Woodland kicker, Jr. #36 Tommy Herman. Out of the timeout, Herman was once again lined up and was able to kick the 38-yd field goal as time ran off the clock giving the Wolfpack the 24-21 second round win. Following the game, Woodland head coach Steve Davenport had this to say about the Wolfpack's play, "Our kids just played hard and that's just a tribute to our staff," adding "They did a great job getting our kids prepared and they kids just fought. They worked so hard and it's just a beautiful thing!" Woodland face Kell in round three of the Georgia High School Association Class 5A State Football Playoffs on November 25, 2016.