The Colonels' return man -- Tarris Batiste -- ripped off 63 yards downfield with his first punt of the evening to score, then helped set Cass up for two more scores with returns of 52 and 35 yards.
Also contributing to the Cass victory over their cross-county rivals and region foe were quarterback Elijah Windom -- who tossed three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score -- and Jay Stephens, who converted three of his receptions into touchdowns, the longest a 68-yarder.
Although outgunned on the evening, Woodland racked up two touchdowns and came close to a third score only to have their field goal attempt blocked.
Cass head coach Rick Casko said the Wildcats largely negated the running of Michael Sanders so Cass emphasized passing.
"Elijah handled the pressure and did a great job for us," Casko said. "We got a lot of guys out in space and Elijah did a nice job of finding the open receiver."
He also credited the offensive line with giving Windom time to work.
Woodland coach Steve Hamilton said the Colonels are physical. "They took it to us physically," he said. "They just whipped us up front. Tarris was like a man amongst boys. He's every bit what people say he is."
The Colonels got their passing attack clicking early, starting at their 20, as they threw for no gain and then 17 yards, to move the chains to their own 32 (after overcoming a 5-yard penalty).
The next pass from Windom (6-of-13 for 182 yards and three touchdowns) found Stephens, and the senior wide receiver refused to be stopped as the play covered 68 yards. The Colonels held a 7-0 lead 1:53 into the game, after the PAT was made by Guadalupe Rangel, who hit four extra points out of five attempts on the evening.
Woodland went three and out the next series, as did Cass, but a loose ball after a punt was turned up by Chad Taylor at the Cass 49. The Colonels advanced to the Woodland 25 but coughed the ball up there.
The Wildcats went three and out, then punted to Batiste, who eluded traffic to score from 63 yards out, enabling Cass to take a 14-0 lead after the PAT was made.
The Wildcats responded with a time-consuming 17-play drive that ended on the Cass 10 when a Woodland field goal attempt was blocked by Sam Taylor.
The teams traded possessions and Woodland punted to Batiste, who toted the mail 52 yards before being tackled at the Wildcat 28. Windom hit Stephens the next play and Cass held a 21-0 lead with 3:44 left in the second period.
Windom found Stephens for a 50-yard strike the next Cass series and the Colonels were up 28-0 after the PAT with 1:01 showing.
Woodland got on the scoreboard the next series with Ashton Shelton (3-9 for 13 yards and one touchdown) hitting Brandon Thompson for a 9-yard touchdown strike just before the halftime horn sounded. The Wildcat PAT failed and it closed to 28-6.
Cass scored on its first drive of the second half after receiving a punt at its 28-yard-line.
Tony Mitchell ran for 32 yards, followed by 16 from Batiste and six and two yards from Windom. The quarterback capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run and the score stood at 34-6 after the PAT was blocked.
Woodland picked up a first down the next series but the drive stalled and a Wildcat punt ended up in the hands of Batiste, who ran for 35 yards before he was downed at the 41.
Cass drove to the Woodland 5-yard-line and Michael Sanders did the honors from there and the Colonels led 42-6 after a two-point conversion.
Woodland took the ensuing kickoff and drove for its final score of the night, as Cambrell Turner broke downfield for 47 yards to score. The PAT was not made and Cass had a 42-12 victory to open its season.
Casko said the defensive play was a key for the Colonels.
"We were prepared for them," he said. "They got a score late and one late in the first half, which shows Woodland did not give up. But all in all, I think, we kept them under wraps."
Cass kept Wildcat standout runner Cambrell Turner from dominating the game.
Batiste and Stephens left some of the best play of their careers on the field.
"Stephens is a good athlete and we were able to get him matched up to our advantage," Casko said.
It was not the only matchup problem the Colonels created for Woodland.
He said Batiste simply is a good athlete.
"Wasn't his play beautiful?" Casko said. "He was able to just break through tackles. He played both ways for us and did just a great job. I was very impressed with his play."
Hamilton said Cass showed a lot of determination and deserved the credit for winning.
"We stopped the run but they've got athletes everywhere," he said.
He said the line of the Colonels also is dominating and the cross-county rival has a lot of people able to make plays.
"It was frustrating and a big learning experience for us," he said.
Hamilton said there were bright spots in the play of the Woodland quarterback.
"Ashton is a tremendous athlete," he said. "He did a lot of things to spark us, but we need more than Ashton out on the edge making things happen.
"But, again, give them the credit. They made the plays and we didn't."
One player was injured in the game. Jeremy Roby, a senior running back, was taken from the field by ambulance. A condition report was not immediately available on Roby, who gave the crowd a thumbs up.
Cass (1-0 in Region 7-AAAA) entertains the Rome Wolves (1-0) in a Friday night region matchup while Woodland (0-1) visits South Forsyth in another region encounter.
1 2 3 4 F
CAS 14 14 14 0 42
WOO 0 6 0 6 12
CAS -- Jay Stephens 68-yd pass from Elijah Windom (Guadalupe Rangel kick)
CAS -- Tarris Batiste 63-yd punt return
CAS -- Stephens 28-yd pass from Windom (Rangel kick)
CAS -- Stephens 50-yd pass from Windom (Rangel kick)
WOO --Brandon Thompson 9-yd pass from Ashton Shelton (kick failed)
CAS --Windom 7-yd run (kick failed)
CAS -- Michael Sanders 5-yd run (2-pt conversion good)
WOO -- Cambrell Turner 47-yd run
1st downs -- --
Rushes-yds 44-201 22-147
Passing yds 13 182
Comp-Att-Int 3-9-0 6-13-1
Total yds 214 329
Penalties -- --
Fumbles-lost -- --
Punts-yds -- --
Rushing -- Woodland: Ashton Shelton 12-62, Cambrell Turner 9-58-1, Josh Young 6-27, Jeremy Roby 4-19, Jake Jackson 1-15, Lee Cash 4-12, Dino Dorris 1-6, Isiah Ross 1-3, Twan Terrell 2-2, Robert Monford 1-1, Austin Chadwick 2-(-2), Jacob Chastain 1-(-2); Cass: Michael Sanders 6-37-1, Tony Mitchell 2-34, Tarris Batiste 2-27, Deon Hardison 2-19, Devin Lomax 2-0, Jay Stephens 1-(-5), Elijah Windom 7-(-35)-1.
Passing -- Woodland: Shelton 3-9-13-1; Cass -- Windom 6-13-182-3.
Receiving -- Woodland: Brandon Thompson 1-9-1,Christian Newman 1-5, Derrick Hardin 1-(-1); Cass: Stephens 3-146-3, Mitchell 1-19, Batiste 2-17.