Antelope downs Woodcreek thanks to late defensive standBy: Cameron Salerno
ANTELOPE‒ Five miles is what separates Woodcreek High and Antelope High, but on Friday night Antelope separated itself from the pack thanks to late a late defensive stand to prevail over the interdistrict rival Timberwolves, 27-25.
Despite two unsuccessful point-after attempts and not converting on a crucial two-point conversion in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game, Woodcreek put itself in position to come away with a victory over Antelope late in the game.
On fourth-and-long, with less than a minute to play, Woodcreek senior quarterback Carter Krupp rolled out of the pocket and threw up a desperation heave to his big target, Matt Willford, but the ball flew over his head. The turnover allowed Antelope to run out the clock with a two-point victory to remain unbeaten in the Capital Valley Conference.
Finding a bigger role in Woodcreek’s offense Friday night was junior Tyler Panilio, who caught a swing pass from Krupp and scampered 45 yards to the house to open up the scoring for the Timberwolves. Krupp also rushed for a touchdown of his own late in the fourth and junior Grant Dinger had touchdown runs of 4 and 62 yards.
The high-powered offense of Woodcreek, however, didn’t translate well on defense. Coming into the final defensive drive, Woodcreek had only stopped Antelope once when Krupp came up with an interception to end the half. However, senior Benjamin Santiago-Kemp recorded a crucial third-down sack to keep the Timberwolves in striking distance.
“Our kids realized at the end it was a big series,” said Woodcreek co-coach Brad Hunkins. “They knew how important getting a stop would be and forcing Antelope to use all three of their timeouts on the final drive.”
The sack by Santiago-Kemp forced a punt and gave the Timberwolves the ball with just over four and a half minutes to play. Woodcreek marched down the field with purpose but couldn’t convert and Antelope escaped with a victory.
Since Antelope opened in 2008, Woodcreek has never beaten the Titans, dropping all four games including Friday night. With the two schools being in the CVC at least for the next four years, the schools could develop a rivalry being so geographically close together.
“I think it will turn into (a rivalry) over time,” Antelope head coach Matt Ray said. “I think Woodcreek’s coaches do a great job over there.”
In the meantime, Woodcreek (6-2) will take a much-needed rest week. The Timberwolves will take their two-game skid into the bye week and look to get healthy for River Valley Oct. 19.
“We have to take care of our guys, but we will still be conditioning and lifting in the bye week,” Hunkins said. “We have to get our kids ready physically and mentally during this week.”