In a fierce and hard-hitting game, Creekview set the momentum early as Riley Davis returned the opening kick 90 yards for the first score of the evening, giving the Grizzlies a 7-0 lead.
Woodland was up for the challenge as it took its first possession and mounted a drive of its own. Twan Terrell was the early workhorse for the 'Cats, chewing up yards to their 48-yard line. R.J. Williams then connected with Xavier Niblett to Creekview's 31. Williams shared the love, connecting with Deo Adams and Qua Stocks, respectively, setting up first down at the Grizzlies' 7. Williams called his own number, taking the ball around the left end to answer the score. Will Broome's extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
Woodland then caught the Grizzlies hibernating by executing an onside kick that was recovered by Isiah Ross at Creekview's 47. Williams hit Adams in stride to push the ball down to the 35. After the two teams traded penalties, Woodland was facing second-and-15 at the 28. Williams then found Niblett for a 28-yard touchdown strike. Broome's extra point extended the Wildcats' lead to 14-7 with 4:13 left in the quarter.
Creekview knotted the game up for the second time with its first possession of the second quarter. Starting at their own 39, the Grizzlies pushed the ball up to Woodland's 35 on a Hayden Hall-to-Davis pass. D'Ondrei Hubbard then broke through the line and went untouched for the Grizzlies' TD. The extra point made it a 14-14 score with 8:45 left in the half.
After the two teams traded possessions, Woodland had the ball and was driving on the Creekview defense when Hunter Udall intercepted a pass to end the drive, putting Creekview at the 50.
Following no gain on first down, Creekview fumbled the ball which was scooped up by 'Cats defender Dino Dorris who raced 50 yards for the TD. Broome's extra point gave the Wildcats a 21-14 edge with 2:20 left in the half.
The ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, allowing Creekview to start its drive from the 35. A direct snap to Hubbard, the senior running back, moved the ball up to the 49. Garrett Hare pushed the ball to the 45 with the clock winding down. As the clock continued to tick, Creekview went for payday as Hubbard, playing QB for the injured Hall, connected with Keith Woods for a 44-yard TD as the buzzer sounded to end the half. The extra point was wide and Woodland held on to a 21-20 lead heading into the locker room.
Woodland received the ball to start the second half and had great field position as Freddy Werner recovered the pooch kick at the Wildcats' 42. Stocks lit up the field on a great run as he turned around the right end and scored from 58 yards out to extend Woodland's lead. Broome's PAT made it a 28-20 advantage for Woodland.
A stellar showing by the Wildcats' defense stopped Creekview at midfield, forcing a punt and giving possession back to Woodland.
Looking to take advantage of another opportunity with a quick strike, the Wildcats did just that as Williams hooked up with Niblett for a 73-yard gain, putting Woodland on the Grizzlies' 2-yard line. Shelby Townsend took it from there and plowed across the goal line behind great blocking from his line for the Wildcat TD.
The unthinkable happened following Townsend's TD as a Creekview defender unleashed his frustration on Terrell while the Woodland holder was down and watching the extra point go through the uprights. The two sidelines emptied as Terrell defended himself, with coaches from both sides pulling players to their respective sidelines. Once the dust had settled, two Woodland players and one Creekview player was ejected from the game.
"We were not looking for confrontation," Wildcats coach Vince DiLorenzo said of the altercation. "Our players were defending their teammate, but the way our players reacted is not what we teach. We teach about keeping our poise no matter who is right or who is wrong."
Once play resumed, with Woodland leading 35-20, Creekview marched the ball to midfield where Hubbard hit Woods with a strike. As Woods ran toward the end zone, a Woodland defender knocked the ball loose at the goal line and Xavier Hendricks recovered the fumble for the Wildcats.
Starting just inches from their goal line, the Wildcats mishandled the snap, which was recovered by Williams in the end zone to give Creekview a safety.
The 'Cats had to kick from their 20 and Woods picked up yardage to the 50, where the Grizzlies began their drive. Hubbard grinded out some tough yards to advance the ball to Woodland's 35. Hubbard then completed a pass to Davis to the 8-yard line. Hubbard's next pass found an open Woods in the end zone for a Creekview score. The extra point narrowed the lead to 35-29.
Woodland's offense struggles continued with Terrell out of the game. The Wildcats were forced to punt the ball right back to the Grizzlies.
With the ball on the 50, Woods broke free and outran Woodland's defense for 49 yards down to the 1-yard line. Hubbard called his own number and scored from 1-yard out. The extra point gave Creekview its first lead since early in the game. The Grizzlies led 36-35 with 1:11 left in the third quarter.
Creekview added its final score of the game on a 47-yard TD run from Hare. The successful PAT pushed the lead to 43-35 with 6:16 left in the game.
Woodland showed resiliency when Josh Young returned a punt for a possibly game-tying touchdown, only for the score to be nullified by a questionable block in the back penalty.
The Wildcats had no more answers, though, as the Grizzlies' 23 unanswered points were enough to secure the victory.
Ross led Woodland on defense with nine solo tackles, four assists and two quarterback pressures while Shelby Townsend, four solo tackles, three assists; Mackenzie Tankersley, three solo tackles, four assists; and Dontrell Lampton, four solo tackles, one assist also contributed on defense.
DiLorenzo said the Wildcats (3-6, 3-6 Region 7-AAAA) lost control of the game in the second half as Creekview (5-5, 5-5) seemed to gain steam from their tested third-quarter exchange. Woodland wraps up its season Friday at Sequoyah (3-6, 3-6).
"We lost our composure in the second half. It seemed to fire up our opponent," DiLorenzo acknowledged. "We will not be playing for next year when we travel to Sequoyah [this] week. We will be playing for pride and ending the season on a positive note. Players and coaches are still committed to winning."
SCORING BY QUARTERS
1 2 3 4 F
CRE 7 13 16 7 43
WOO 14 7 14 0 35
CRE -- Riley Davis 90-yd kick return (kick good)
WOO -- R.J. Williams 7-yd run (kick good)
WOO -- Xavier Niblett 28-yd pass from Williams (kick good)
CRE -- D'Ondrei Hubbard 35-yd run (kick good)
WOO -- Dino Dorris 50-yd fumble return (kick good)
CRE -- Keith Woods 44-yd pass from Hubbard (kick failed)
WOO -- Qua Stocks 58-yd run (kick good)
WOO -- Shelby Townsend 2-yd run (kick good)
CRE -- Williams recovers fumble in own end zone for safety
CRE -- Woods 8-yd pass from Hubbard (kick good)
CRE -- Hubbard 1-yd run (kick good)
CRE -- Garrett Hare 47-yd run (kick good)