Woodbridge High’s first ever playoff victory was nothing if not eventful. The Blue Raiders needed a blocked punt, a scoring fumble return and a failed two-point conversion to get past host Tower Hill 28-21 on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the DIAA Division II Football Tournament.
And that doesn’t count a you-pick-’em battle for the ball that was ruled an interception to seal the win.
“It’s good for our school and our community,” said Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove of the school’s first playoff win. “Hopefully, they’ll keep it going.”
Woodbridge took the lead 22-15 in the fourth quarter with a 24-yard drive after a Hillers fumble. Quarterback Logan Wescott scored around right end.
“I saw an opening,” he said. “And I made one move and wasn’t going to be denied.”
The Hillers, who had their undefeated season spoiled at 10-1, came right back to score with 4:35 remaining in the game. Cole Wenzel capped a 68-yard march with an 8-yard scoring burst up the middle. The Hillers were down 22-21, and coach Kevin Waesco made a bold decision to go for the lead with a two-point conversion try.
“The kids liked the call, and I believe in my kids,” Waesco said.
But Wenzel was stopped short on the attempt, leaving Tower Hill down by a point with time running out. The Hillers got the ball back with 2:01 left before facing fourth-and-15 at their own 25.
But Jaylyn Magee returned a fumble 18 yards for the TD. With the score 28-21 and 1:33 remaining, the Hillers got the ball back, but Woodbridge’s Garrett Temple ended up with a game-clinching interception at the Blue Raiders’ 11.
Tower Hill controlled the ball throughout the first half, scoring on its first drive from 73 yards out. Jermaine Knotts wriggled through the middle of the line and scampered for a 21-yard touchdown. After an encroachment call against Woodbridge, the Hillers decided to forget about the PAT kick and had QB Matt Smith take the ball inside for the shortened two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Woodbridge went three-and-out on its first four possessions – well, three-and-in on its opening drive as Logan Wescott hit Bragg Davis in stride on a post pattern for a 50-yard score. Wescott ran in the conversion to tie the game at 8 with 7:29 left in the first quarter.
The Hillers regained the lead on a 60-yard drive. Smith burst through the line and won the race to the end zone with 3:27 remaining in the half. The kick made it 15-8.
It seemed the score would stay like that going into intermission as Woodbridge couldn’t get a first down. But led by linebacker Tyler Taylor’s outstanding tackling on defense, the Blue Raiders forced Tower Hill to punt with 1:02 remaining. Shedrick Rayford streaked in from the left side and went high to block the attempt with his left hand. Woodbridge recovered at the Hillers 18, and five quick plays and a pass interference call later, Rayford scored on the final play, running around right end. Brent Adams’ kick tied the game at 15.