Woodcreek overcomes slow start to top Nevada Union

T-Wolves rack up the run yards in first league/home win of the season
By: Cameron Salerno - For The Press Tribune
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With players decked out in pink gear in support of breast cancer awareness, the Woodcreek High football team hosted Nevada Union in search of their first home and league win of 2016. 

Thanks to 423 total yards of offense, the Timberwolves, in desperate need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, outlasted the Miners Friday night, 34-32. 

“For us, we take this week by week, we won the week and that’s what we talked about after the game,” Woodcreek’s co-head coach Kyle Stowers admitted. “Now we have given ourselves an opportunity to win the next week and we just have to win a couple more games and we will be in the playoffs for the first time in a while.”

Playing in front of an all pink Black Mob, it was Woodcreek’s backfield that stepped up. 

Seniors Tyler England, Matt Gordon and junior running back Isaiah Ajayi combined for over 275 yards on the ground and scored three time, but no touchdown was more important than Matt Gordon's four-yard quarterback keeper to give Woodcreek a two score lead with less than five minutes to play in the game. 

“I'm so proud of Gordon,” Stowers acknowledged. “He was a third string guy as a junior and then started the last four games for us last year. I don’t think I’ve been around a more hard working kid who wants to get better. So on that last drive we ran our veer midline and he took the game in his hands.”

Although Woodcreek edged out Nevada Union, the game was a back-and-forth affair through 40 minutes. The Timberwolves needed to move away from their traditional run-heavy offensive approach and actually aired out the rock more often than usual. That change helped set up Andrew Knapp's 77-yard catch and run on a post route as he found the end zone to take the lead back from Nevada Union, 14-12, midway through the second quarter.

“I think Andrew Knapp stepped up a lot on offense,” Woodcreek’s running back Tyler England pointed out. “Last year, I know he didn’t get a lot of reps and people have doubted him because of his size but that big play that went for over 70 yards that was a huge play in the game.”

England made his own big plays. 

Despite the Timberwolves trailing 18-17 at halftime, it didn’t take long for England to bust out a 52-yard run and help his team take a 24-18 lead four minutes into the third period. After that score, the Timberwolves never looked back and held the lead until the final whistle.

“We were down and half, but we came together, collectively, and we made some stops on defense and had some drives on offense where we scored and I felt like we took control of this game,” England explained.

Ajayi and England both accounted for 117 yards on the ground, while Gordon chipped in 42 of his own. Woodcreek’s rushing attacked managed a whopping 8.9 yards per carry average and had two runs of 55 yards. Gordon also had 146 yards through the air as he completed just over 50 percent of his passes. 

Woodcreek’s senior kicker Dylan Carlson added two field goals in the second half as his team sealed the win at home, 34-32, to improve to 3-4 this season and 1-2 in SFL play.

The Timberwolves will enter their bye week before prepping for their showdown with Rocklin on Oct. 21. The two teams are in a race for the fourth automatic playoff bid in the SFL and this matchup could decide who goes to the postseason and who stays home.

“For us, first it’s going to be to rest and recover and then we are going to put in our gameplan for Rocklin and get ready for them in two weeks,” Stowers emphasized. “We know it’s not going to get any easier in this league and we are going to have to take things week by week.”

When the T-Wolves take the field next, they’ll be celebrating their homecoming.