One week after losing in the last minute to Paulding County, the Woodland Wildcats are regrouping and looking to get back on the right track.
The Wildcats will travel to East Paulding tonight.
There were good things to take from last week’s 35-34 loss, a game in which Woodland blew a big lead, but they were tough to find in the immediate aftermath of the deflating defeat.
A new week, however, brought new perspective and new things to work on.
“We’ve been working on trying to shake it off and learn from our mistakes,” Woodland coach Tony Plott said. “It’s tough any time you lose a game like that where you blow a big lead and let them come back, but we’re doing the best we can.”
The Wildcats, at least, can take heart in the fact that they very nearly outplayed Paulding County.
For most of the game, Woodland’s rushing attack bulldozed Paulding with long, clock-eating drives. Justice Carter had over 100 yards, and the Williamses — running backs Kaison and Demarcus, and quarterback Brody — also had success on the ground, with Brody Williams hitting all the right buttons in Woodland’s triple-option offense.
The 34 points were the most the Wildcats had scored all year.
East Paulding will make that mark hard to top, though.
“They’re big and physical,” Plott said. “Like most teams, they’re going to be a lot bigger than us. They have a really good offense.”
East is just 2-4, but that includes losses to ranked Kell and Carrollton in the region.
The Raiders beat Villa Rica, widely considered their top competition for the last playoff spot in the region, 30-14, and are coming off a 17-9 win over Cass.
Running back Tyrell Robinson is one of the top runners in a region that’s lousy with them.
On defense, the Raiders will, like most of the teams Woodland has seen this year, run an odd front, coming in the form of a 3-4.
For Woodland, the focus this week has been on disciplined play, after the Wildcats racked up a lot of penalties against Paulding. That’s been a theme this year.
“That’s one thing that keeps killing us,” Plott said. “We have second-and-short turning into second- and third-and-long, because of penalties and not being disciplined.”
A win would bring the Wildcats back to .500 at 4-4 on the season, before they face a gauntlet of Kell and No. 1 ranked Rome to end the season.
“Our kids are still working to win,” Plott said. “We believe we can win these next couple of games, and we’re working to do that. We wouldn’t expect anything less than that.”