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Football Friday Night: Woodland defeats Victory; Handley, Wadley also victorious in season openers

In 2022 Woodland running back Malakai Drummond ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns all season. In one game in 2023 Drummond got half that yardage total (and then some) and eclipsed that touchdown total.

Woodland opened its 2023 campaign with a dominant 38-7 win over Victory Christian at Warren Sewell Field in Woodland, and the Bobcats got a tantalizing glimpse of what its two-headed running back monster might be capable of in the process.

Drummond ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries, his counterpart David Noles had 98 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and the Woodland defense put the clamps on the Lions’ offense, holding them to 141 total yards from scrimmage.

Maybe one of the more encouraging signs for Woodland in such a one-sided victory is that the team’s performance was far from perfect. Woodland turned the ball over four times on two interceptions and two lost fumbles. They had a long touchdown pass called back because of an illegal formation penalty. At one point they had a 6-yard punt that was shanked so badly it almost landed in the visitors’ bleachers. There were plenty of things to clean up, but that didn’t stop Woodland from clearly being the better team on the field Friday night.

Drummond and Noles set the tone early as the duo needed just three plays to march Woodland 78 yards for their first points of the night. Noles ripped off runs of 14 and 39 yards on his first two carries, and Drummond broke off a 25-yard touchdown on his very first carry to put Woodland up 7-0.

Woodland got a 5-yard touchdown run later in the first from Drummond, then added a 28-yard field goal from Noah Waites – who was a perfect 6-for-6 (1 FG, 5 PATs) in the kicking game – to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room.

Quarterback Callen Gay completed just three of his eight pass attempts, but the biggest play of the night for Woodland came on a 54-yard touchdown strike to Garrett Hendrix with 5:19 to go in the third quarter to stretch Woodland’s lead to 24-7. The ‘Cats added two fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 5-yard run by Noles and a 2-yard score from Drummond to pull away late.

Woodland made the Lions work for their yards as the longest play surrendered by the Bobcats’ defense was 13-yard run by quarterback Shepard Sargent.

Woodland is 1-0 for the first time since a season opening win against Fayetteville in 2020.

The Bobcats will hit the road for the first of three straight road games as they take on RCHS in Wedowee next week.

RCHS 34, Fayetteville 0 (jamboree)

Avion Willis threw for 125 yards and two touchdowns and Ryder Pinson ran for 143 yards and a score on just seven carries as RCHS won its preseason contest 34-0 against Fayetteville Friday in Wedowee.

Willis , who completed 8-of-11 pass attempts, connected with Gavin Wortham on a 37-yard scoring strike and also hit Christopher Wilson with an 11-yard score.

Pinson had a 53-yard touchdown run, Terrance Scales had a 14-yard score on the ground, and Mo Winston rushed nine times for 46 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown on his final run of the night.

RCHS will begin its regular season next week at home against Woodland.

Other scores

Handley 22, Valley 8

Wadley 35, Horseshoe Bend 7

Ranburne 31, White Plains 28

Clay Central 21, Cleburne County 7(jamboree)

Look for complete coverage of all these games in next Wednesday’s print edition of the Randolph Leader.

Woodland running back Malakai Drummond finished with 111 yards and three touchdowns in Woodland’s 34-7 season-opening win over Victory Christian Friday in Woodland.

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