The accumulation of punishment Maurice Woodard took during the course of his record-setting night started to set in.
And Woodard had only one thing to say about it.
“It was worth it,” the West Lafayette senior running back said after his 46 carries for 266 yards and four touchdowns led the Class 3A No. 6 Red Devils to a Sectional 28 championship victory over No. 5 Yorktown 54-41 at Tiger Stadium.
Woodard’s 266 yards catapulted him well past Paul Durkes’ single-season school mark of 1,848. He entered Friday night with 1,736.
Quarterback Parker Ronchetto needed 163 passing yards to break Matt Lancaster’s 2008 single-season mark. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 168 yards and second-half touchdowns to Brandon Watt and Everett Gorup to earn another home game. WL is 6-0 this season at Gordon Straley Field, where the Red Devils host Fort Wayne Concordia (9-3) for the regional championship.
Getting to that point took every one of Ronchetto’s 283 combined yards and WL’s physical offensive line making holes for Woodard.
Indiana’s male High School Heisman winner, Yorktown’s Chandler Carroll, showed the skills that helped him earn the honor with 169 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The Red Devils’ offense was up to the challenge.
“We joked at the Sunday meeting. Our defensive coaches came in and said, ‘Can you guys score 49?’ and we all kind of just laughed about it,” WL coach Shane Fry said. “Yorktown is good. Their running back and quarterback, that’s a tough tandem to defend, so we’re happy to come out on top.”
West Lafayette (11-1) never trailed. Woodard scored on WL’s first drive after Yorktown began the game with a missed field goal. A second Woodard TD run extended the lead to 13-0 and Kyle Turner’s interception in the second quarter led to Ronchetto’s 6-yard TD run that put WL up, 20-7.
“Every time they scored, we had to pick it up, grind it out and wear them down to get the win,” said lineman John Duvall, who plays both ways for the Red Devils.
Just when Yorktown appeared to be back in business following a 27-yard TD pass from Riley Neal to Riley Miller with 1:15 to go in the first half, the Red Devils again responded.
Travis Rolle returned the ensuing kickoff to near midfield, and nine plays later, Woodard scored from 1 yard out. Forty-five seconds into the second half, Watt hauled in a 37-yard pass from Ronchetto and the Red Devils’ lead grew to 20.
“We’ll take a shootout with anyone,” Woodard said. “We think we can put up points with the best of them out there.”
West Lafayette’s high-scoring offense helped stave off the Tigers (11-2), who got 364 passing yards from Neal. The 41 points by Yorktown are the most scored against the Red Devils this season — likewise for West Side’s 54 against the Tigers.
“We did get a few key stops, but we can’t rely on the offense to score 54 points,” WL senior defensive lineman Jade Doty said. “There’s better defenses out there, so our defense needs to step it up.”
Woodard claimed the last school rushing record he did not own Friday night, but to him, it mattered not.
What mattered was hoisting the sectional championship trophy above his head after barreling through a trio of talented foes in Delta, Western and Yorktown.
“I’d trade any record I have for more championships,” Woodard said.