’Cats take 3 OTs to slip by Rome
by David Royal
Nov 09, 2013 | 688 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodland won a 36-34 three-overtime thriller over Rome on Friday night to finish its regular season with four consecutive victories.

The Wildcats scored two touchdowns during the regular portion of the game and three touchdowns in overtime as its improved to 4-6.

The Wolves had entered the game with the possibility of earning a state playoff position by winning but with help from other teams required.

Woodland coach Vince DiLorenzo saluted his players for their performance in capping what was exclusively a losing affair the first six contests.

The coach said the Wildcats had continued to battle all season even as their losses mounted, refusing to accept the negative assessments that seemed to come from every corner.

“We’d been given up for dead, but somehow they found a way to believe and keep working,” he said. “These seniors and players found the will to not be beaten.

“I’ve had three state championship teams and somehow what this group of players did just seems so incredible.”

The Wildcats showed early they came to play as they took the game’s opening drive and marched 56 yards in 11 snaps before running out of steam at the Rome 10.

Woodland then attempted a 32-yard field goal that was blocked.

A series later, Rome advanced to the red zone before Qua Stocks stepped in front of a Wolves pass that he took to the Woodland 39.

An 11-play drive followed, the biggest gains including Mason Robinson, who called his own number once for a 13-yard pickup and also hit Stocks at the 15 for a 10-yard pickup.

Robinson punctuated the effort with a touchdown run from a yard away at the 7:10 mark of the second quarter. Jose Panigua make good on the point after touchdown attempt, the first of four he would make on the night.

Rome answered with an 11-play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:01 left in the first half, accounting for the 7-all score at the break.

The Wildcats got back into the fray on their first drive of the second half after holding Rome to three-and-out.

Isaiah Ross opened with a 14-yard run and Robinson added 18 yards to advance the Wildcats to the 32. The two moved the ball 10 yards closer with two runs and Quadre Allen closed the drive with a 22-yard scoring burst that gave Woodland a 14-7 lead with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter.

Rome clawed its way back into the contest later in the frame by capitalizing on a Richard Sullivan interception of a Woodland pass. Sullivan’s pick-six came with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter.

Both teams threatened to score the rest of the regulation game but neither could close the deal.

Rome changed that in the first overtime when a 5-yard sweep by Paul Anderson gave his team a 21-14 lead after the PAT was tacked on.

Woodland answered in the Wildcats’ half of the overtime when Allen scored from 2 yards out. Robinson made a key run in the overtime when his team faced a third and 14, moving the chains with a 17-yard run.

The Wildcats scored first in the contest’s second overtime, moving 15 yards in three plays with a 6-yard and a 1-yard run by Allen. Ross lit up the scoreboard with an 8-yard run and the Wildcats were up 28-21 after the PAT was made.

Rome took five plays to respond, knotting the score on a 1-yard run by Micaelan Anderson. The two teams were tied at 28-all after the extra point was made.

Woodland scored in three plays in the game’s third overtime with the touchdown coming off a Robinson-to-Stocks 15-yard connection that made the score 34-28. Ross scored on the two-point attempt that is required by third overtime period rules.

It took Rome just three plays to score its touchdown in its half of the third overtime. The Wolves tried to make their two-point conversion using the aerial route but their pass fell short, allowing Woodland to walk away with the victory.

The game capped a season of extremes for Woodland. The Wildcats lost their first six games of the season before breaking into the win column against Paulding County on Oct. 11, 22-14.

It followed that up with the 21-12 defeat of Lithia Springs on Oct. 18 and 28-23 defeat of Hiram on Nov. 1.

DiLorenzo said Friday night’s victory was even sweeter because of Rome’s success through the years.

“To beat Rome and coach Perkins is a great accomplishment for our players,” DiLorenzo said. “But who could have thought it would take three overtimes to defeat them.”

He said Woodland had prepared for the slugfest it knew was coming, ranging from running on Monday to lifting weights and improving their conditioning all week.

“I want you to know it took all that conditioning to defeat Rome in three overtimes. But in overtime, you could see that we were stronger than we were to start the game. Tonight was the culmination of that effort.”