Still, the Wildcats did not go quietly and made the Wolves earn a 44-34 victory that let Rome enter the state playoffs as a No. 3 seed in Region 5-AAAAA.
Coach Vince DiLorenzo said the Wildcats showed mental toughness by not giving up but his team needs to stay tougher the entire game.
“We got over one hump where we now can have long drives and score, but we need to dig down and pour it on when other teams are trying to come back on us,” he said.
The Wildcats had their chances on Friday night, rushing out to a 20-17 halftime lead, but the Wolves then struck for 27 points in a row to claim a 44-20 lead.
Woodland was able to make a run despite the daunting score, and it scored the final two touchdowns of the game.
Woodland scored first on the evening by capitalizing on a fumble by the Wolves on the first drive.
The Wildcats took possession on their own 43 and took 10 plays to find the end zone. The key gainer on the drive was a 32-yard pass play from R. J. Williams to Qua Stocks. Three plays later Williams threaded his way through the Wolves defenders on a 4-yard touchdown run that gave Woodland a 7-0 lead after the PAT was made.
Rome answered with a 24-yard field goal, to close to 7-3 midway in the quarter, then took its first lead of the game about two minutes later on a 28-yard pass play. The PAT was good and the Wolves were up 10-7 with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Woodland struck back on the ensuing drive after Stocks fielded the kickoff at his own 21 and advanced it to the 39 of Rome.
Williams then engineered a 5-play, 39-yard drive, the most yards coming off a pass to Stocks that netted 14 yards. Williams found his favorite target again moments later from the 22 and Stocks scored from 22 yards out.
Woodland held only a 13-10 lead after the PAT was tipped at the 5:07 mark of the second quarter.
The Wildcats had to handle some adversity to earn their third score, as they started from Rome’s 32 after recovering a fumble.
Woodland marched to the 10-yard line in five plays but Williams then limped off the field with his team facing a second-and-goal from the 10.
Backup quarterback Mason Robinson then found Stocks in the end zone to give his team a 20-10 lead after the PAT.
Rome closed the gap between the teams with less than a minute remaining in the half on a 43-yard running play by Myron Robinson. After the PAT, Rome moved to 20-17 just before the break.
The Wolves struck for three touchdowns in the third quarter, the first when quarterback Bo Tucker plunged in from the 2-yard line, capping a one-play drive that started when the Wolves blocked a Woodland punt at the 2 just minutes into the third quarter and gave the host team a 24-20 lead.
To read the rest of this story, please purchase a copy of The Daily Tribune News at your nearby news rack or subscribe to the E-edition.