But it wasn’t easy for the Raiders as the Wildcats’ defense made the going tougher, especially in the early going, by holding their foes to short gains and forcing two first-half turnovers — a fumble and an interception — to block their progress.
However, Woodland did not show sufficient improvement offensively as the Wildcats were held scoreless for the second week in a row.
“It goes back to the offense not doing its job again,” head coach Vince DiLorenzo said. “Tonight our defense played well enough to win early.
“We played hard. Because we couldn’t score, we left our defense out on the field too long. But there was a complete change in the way we played tonight compared with [our game against] Allatoona, especially defensively, so I’m proud of them.”
The Wildcats’ Mason Robinson was 13-of-20 for 102 yards on the evening. Woodland rushed 19 times but had a net loss of 16 yards after the quarterback sacks were figured in.
The two teams started slowly offensively as East Paulding made one first down and then threw a pass that was intercepted by Woodland’s Grant Quick. The Wildcats did little after Quick’s defensive gem, however, gaining just two yards in three plays.
Although East Paulding could not get its offense in high gear in the initial period, the team started slowly establishing field position and Woodland started its last drive of the period from its 8-yard line.
East Paulding opened the second quarter in excellent field position, from Woodland’s 29, but fumbled the ball on the drive’s second carry, giving the Wildcats the ball at their own 16.
The Wildcats drove to their 43 and punted to the Raiders’ 16. A 5-yard penalty moved the ball back to the 11 but East Paulding responded with an 89-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Paris to Johnny Furby and the visiting team held a 7-0 lead after the point after touchdown kick was good with 6:18 left in the second period.
The next drive Woodland threw an interception on its third play and Jake Ivey returned the errant pass for a 38-yard touchdown as East Paulding staked itself to a 14-0 lead after the PAT was made with 4:48 remaining until the break.
The Wildcats started their next drive from the 5-yard line and gave up a safety when Mason Robinson was flagged for intentional grounding when he tried to pass with two Raiders hanging on him in the end zone.
The safety pushed East Paulding’s lead to 16-0, that lead holding up until halftime.
East Paulding’s next touchdown came on a 12-yard run by Mac Coleman at the 8:06 mark of the third quarter.
The Raiders final touchdown came after a 58-yard run by Malik Bruce.
The Wildcats failed for the second game in a row to cross the goal line. They put up just a field goal in their first game of the year against Villa Rica and failed to light up the scoreboard against Allatoona.
DiLorenzo took note of that shortcoming in post-game remarks. “We have to find a way to fix the offense. I’m in charge of it so it starts with me.”
But he said he saw better effort from Woodland.
“I’m proud of them. They fought hard,” he said. “We’ve got a week to get the offense fixed. Then we go to New Manchester. That’s another region game.”
East Paulding improved to 2-1 in Region 5-AAAAA with the win. Next week the Raiders visit Paulding County.
Woodland dropped to 0-3 in the region. It next plays New Manchester on Friday, Sept. 13. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at the Jaguar football stadium in Douglasville.