The Wildcats did show some signs of offensive life on the night, starting several drives against the region power, but the performance was marred by four interceptions.
Woodland advanced to the North Paulding 37 on the game’s initial drive, a nine-play effort, and punted, giving the Wolfpack the ball at its own 20.
It was the first of a number of offensive drives that Woodland started but did not complete.
Woodland’s Isaiah Ross led the offensive effort as he carried the ball 13 times and netted 52 yards while catching a pass for 4 more yards.
Head coach Vince DiLorenzo said Ross can be effective carrying the load.
“Isaiah Ross is a big guy,” he said. “The problem is we need him on defense. By the time he’s through running the ball on offense, it’s hard for him to turn around and play defense. Now it’s trying to figure out where’s the best for him. He certainly gives us a dimension running the football we haven’t had.”
The Wolfpack scored only once in the first quarter, largely because the Wildcats dominated time of possession in the frame.
Woodland also was aided offensively when Lucas Knight recovered a North Paulding fumble at the 6:40 mark of the first period. However, the Wolfpack slammed the door on the opportunity and forced the Wildcats to punt, taking over the ball at their own 33.
Four plays later, Corn Collins ran the ball down the throat of the Wildcat defense and completed a 47-yard running play for a 7-0 lead at the 3:35 mark of the first period.
North Paulding started its second scoring drive later in the period and finished it in the second period when Chase Noonan found Mitchell Kenny open and completed a 14-yard scoring strike, and the home team was up 14-0 after the PAT was made with 11:21 remaining until the break.
North Paulding added to the lead about a minute and a half later when Brent Johnson intercepted a Mason Robinson (12-22-88-3) pass for a pick-six and a 21-0 lead.
The Wolfpack scored two more touchdowns before the break, one after a four-play drive that was capped by a 34-yard pass to Matt Mixon by Noonan and the second when Noonan hooked up with D.J. Owens for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Wolfpack stretched its lead to 56-0 in the second half by adding three touchdowns.
DiLorenzo noted there were a few bright spots for Woodland.
“Our offensive line did a good job. There were some positive things on offense tonight,” he said.
He also praised the team’s effort.
“They didn’t quit. They fought hard for four quarters,” he said. “There were a lot of licks passed out there tonight. It was a physical game. We had guys who got knocked down and got back up. We knocked a few of them down. It was just a very physical game. They played hard in the fourth quarter. They played hard till the last zero.”
He said the offense simply is having to learn the game while playing in a tough, talented region.
“We had a few first downs put together and then something would happen,” he said. “We couldn’t finish. I hate to count the number of interceptions we threw tonight. I really don’t want to know. It was way too many.”
He said the team’s two quarterbacks are simply inexperienced.
“Our guys are still learning,” he said. “Neither one of our two guys played quarterback last season and it’s just tough. You’re learning the offense and you’re playing quality teams like we’re playing. We’re playing the six best teams in our region right off the bat. It’s tough to learn when you’re playing. It not just the six best teams, but they have lost maybe one or two games each. It’s tough.”
The Wildcats (0-6) now get a break from their region wars and don’t return to the football field until Oct. 11, when they will host Paulding County. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The Wolfpack is 4-1 and going into the evening was one of three teams tied for fourth place in Region 5-AAAAA.
The Wolfpack next plays South Paulding on Oct. 4. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. for the game, which will be played at North Paulding stadium.