Wilson leads Woodlawn past Loyola

Woodlawn senior Donovan Wilson has become used to the accolades as one of the most decorated defensive players in school history.

Friday night at Independence Stadium, Wilson showed he’s pretty good on the offensive side of the ball as well.

Wilson caught seven passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to his two interceptions on defense, as the Knights beat the Loyola Flyers 36-16, assuring themselves of a playoff spot with the win during Woodlawn’s Homecoming/Senior Night.

It was the first meeting between the two teams since 1963.

“We’ve known all week that this was a big game in terms of what was at stake,” said Wilson, who now leads the state with 13 interceptions on the season. “I wanted to go out and play the best game of my life, because if I didn’t, this could have been my last one as a high school student.”

Wilson was dominant from the beginning, leaping high in double coverage to snag a 10-yard scoring toss from junior quarterback James Anderson just four minutes into the contest.

Later, in the final quarter, Wilson sealed the game, first with another circus catch for a score, then two plays later with his second acrobatic interception and return.

“Man, he’s just as good as it gets,” said first-year Woodlawn head coach Jerwin Wilson. “He works hard, he works fast, he plays fast. I’ve never been around a better player than him. That’s why I don’t want this to end just yet.”

The head coach’s defense, coordinated by his twin brother Derwin Wilson, made another statement, holding Loyola (4-6, 2-5 District 1-4A) to negative yards rushing until a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter with Donovan Wilson out of the game gave the Flyers 27 yards on the ground. Woodlawn (5-5, 4-3) forced three turnovers and recorded four sacks.

“Those guys have been playing better and better as the season has progressed,” said Jerwin Wilson. “Derwin has worked them hard and it has paid off. I’m proud of the way we got after it out there.”

Loyola never seemed to recover from the loss of star running back Eldrick English, who left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. The senior, who came into the game with over 1,200 yards on the ground, was held to a season-low three yards on six carries as the Knights swarmed him every time he touched the football.

Meanwhile, Anderson led Woodlawn’s offense efficiently, completing 15 of 25 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Fadarius Johns celebrated his election as Homecoming King with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.

“It was my best game this year,” said Anderson. “I’ve been working hard to cut down on my interceptions and do all I can to lead this team.

The Knights will officially find out Sunday who they will face in the first round of the state 4A playoffs.

“I don’t care who we get,” said Jerwin Wilson. “I’m just glad to get there.”

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