A week ago, Griffin Thomas posted an interception in the end zone against J.F. Kennedy that helped Woodbridge hold on to a victory. The junior didn’t realize his hands would serve as a golden touch for the Barrons Friday night.
Thomas had two key fourth-quarter catches, including a game-tying touchdown, and added a game-ending interception in overtime as Woodbridge rallied past Bishop Ahr 17-14 Friday night.
After Robert Martinez nailed a 35-yard field goal to put Woodbridge ahead in overtime, Bishop Ahr was penalized for an illegal shift that put them at a 2nd-and-11 from the Barrons 26. Michael Viggiano lofted a pass that missed his target and landed right into the arms of Thomas who ran a few yards and slid around the 25.
“I just caught it and went down. I knew I had to go down after that,” Thomas said. “We had to stop their sweep and we did. This is like a playoff game for us.”
Things didn’t seem so promising for Woodbridge (5-3), which failed to convert a 4th-and-goal from the Bishop Ahr 2 with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter. But the Barrons defense responded with its own stop of running back Kevin Momat at the Barrons 36-yard line on fourth-and-1 that forced a turnover on downs with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Woodbridge took over and had its longest play of the night at the perfect time. James Rueb threw a pass to Thomas, who went 47 yards along the left sideline to give the Barrons a first-and-10 at the Trojans 17. Four plays later, the Rueb to Thomas connection worked again as the duo teamed up for a 15-yard touchdown with 3:40 left in regulation.
“The kids kept their composure and did a great job down the stretch,” Woodbridge coach Bill Nyers said. “Our defense came up big. In the second half they were gashing us at times but we stepped it up.”
In overtime, Woodbridge kept it on the ground with two runs for a yard and a 6-yard scramble by Rueb to put the ball at the Bishop Ahr 18-yard line. That set up Martinez’s 35-yard kick that made it with plenty of room to spare.
“I don’t really struggle with it,” Martinez said. “I love the pressure. It’s what I do.”
It was another solid night from Woodbridge quarterback Rueb who completed 7-of-10 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Rueb, who added 32 yards on the ground, seemed to always find a way to get the Barrons out of trouble, including a toss to Mika Graham for a first quarter touchdown for Woodbridge’s first lead of the game.
The Trojans (4-4) took a 14-7 lead on an 8-yard touchdown reception by Nelson Thomas from Michael Viggiano in the middle of the third quarter. The game turned into a defense battle before Thomas’ grab set up the game-tying touchdown for Woodbridge.
The victory likely puts Woodbridge no worse than the seventh seed in the Central Group IV playoff picture.
“This is a big game because it helps us with the seeding,” Nyers said. “It’s great to get this win on the road because we’re going to be on the road the rest of the way.”