Late defensive stand helps Woodcreek fight off River Valley’s comebackBy: Cameron Salerno
ROSEVILLE– Often times, you will be able to find Carter Krupp, Woodcreek’s senior quarterback making plays on the offensive side of the ball. However, Friday night, Krupp and the Timberwolves’ defense paid dividends in helping Woodcreek fend off a late River Valley comeback, 35-27, to improve to 7-2.
Woodcreek had little trouble early on in containing River Valley’s high-powered Wing-T offense led by Northern Arizona University-commit, Dawson McPeak.
To open up the scoring for Woodcreek, Krupp picked off McPeak and returned it 52 yards to the house. Krupp also forced and recovered a fumble later in the quarter. To cap off the Timberwolves’ three total turnovers forced on the day, senior Matt Willford picked off McPeak late, which put the game on ice.
“I think the pick-six early helped boost our team’s morale,” Krupp said. “The (defensive) line did a good job of getting pressure up front, which allowed me to get the interception.”
Peyton Allen opened up the offense, scoring on a 65-yard touchdown on the first offensive play ran by Woodcreek. Krupp later found senior Hudson Habermehl from 20 yards out, and junior Grant Dinger contributed two touchdowns from 3 and 17 yards out to cap the offense for Woodcreek.
Containing River Valley’s offense saw the Timberwolves hold a 35-7 lead in the early part of the third quarter. Then, River Valley found the groove on offense they had been accustomed to all season long, which was averaging nearly 35 points a game.
“(McPeak) is a great quarterback,” Woodcreek co-head coach Brad Hunkins admitted. “Playing in the (Sierra Foothill League) all of those years helped us prepare for someone like him, and our goal was to just keep him in the pocket all night long.”
River Valley found the end zone three times in the second half but still managed to see themselves trailing with 7:54 to go. After a quick three-and-out by the Timberwolves’ offense, the defense took the field and made the biggest defensive play of the season.
On fourth down, Willford dropped into coverage and jumped high in the air to pick off McPeak. The interception gave Woodcreek the ball with to 3:42 play.
“All I was thinking about when I picked off that pass is that we were getting the ball back,” Willford said. “I believe that play won us the game.”
Woodcreek managed to close out the game with a handful of first-down conversions as well as a late facemask penalty, which allowed the Timberwolves to take a knee and seal the win.
This game for Woodcreek will mean more than just a notch in the win column. It was more personal due to the fact that before tonight’s game, Woodcreek hadn’t won on senior night since 2009.
Historically, Woodcreek in the past decade has struggled in close point-differential games. Coming into Friday’s game, Woodcreek had gone 2-12 in games decided by eight points or less since 2010.
“In my four years here at Woodcreek, we have had some very close games,” Hunkins confessed. “It seems as if in those games the tide had switched not in our favor. So, I thought tonight’s win was good for our kids to believe we can win a close game.”
Woodcreek won’t have much time to celebrate the victory. The Timberwolves will take on Yuba City on the road to close out the regular season next Friday.
Although Woodcreek is already playoff eligible, almost doubling the minimum four required wins and well on its way to making the postseason for the first time since 2008, a win over Yuba City would likely boost its seeding for the playoffs, which could pay off for the Timberwolves come November.