Just over 24 hours after losing his older brother to cancer, Woodland head coach Joel Schrenk helped lead his Bobcats to a bittersweet 38-13 win over Central Coosa on homecoming night in Woodland Friday.
Schrenk’s brother received his diagnosis on June 21, and was gone less than four months later.
“His body was ravaged,” Schrenk said.
The head coach said his brother was on his mind pregame, and he took comfort in the soul-saving decision his brother made before he died.
“My dad and I were sharing a lot of scripture with him, praying with him and my dad and him prayed and he accepted Christ about six weeks ago,” Schrenk said. “So yesterday he met Jesus. The hope of Jesus is why I can smile. If he were lost it would be a different feeling, but he’s not.”
Another reason for Schrenk to smile was the play of his team on Friday as they put together a physical peformance on both sides of the ball and rallied from an ealry 13-6 deficit to take their second win of the season.
The running back tandem of David Noles and Malakai Drummond did the heavy lifting for Woodland’s offense, a two-part harmony that saw Noles do much of the work between the end zones and Drummond get the final yards to put points on the board.
Noles ran for 172 yards on 26 carries, and Drummond added 89 yards and four short touchdowns on 13 runs.
The kicking game was a factor on both sides, but ultimately helped swing the game Woodland’s way. The Bobcats went straight down the field on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead, but Coosa Central’s LaCorrian Thompson returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown that immediately tied the game. Woodland then fell behind 13-7 when quarterback Antoneo Grant delivered a 40-yard strike to Thompson that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by the quarterback with 3:34 to go in the first quarter.
Those would be the final points of the night for the Cougars however, and big part of that was Woodland’s reluctance to kick it to Thompson again.
Woodland took the lead for good on Drummond’s second touchdown run of the game, a 5-yarder that put the ‘Cats up 14-13 just before the end of the first quarter. Woodland recovered one intentional onside kick and two other ground-hugging squib kicks that Central was unable to field. Those kicks limited Central’s possessions and helped prevent them from getting any rhythm offensively.
Woodland led 21-13 at the half, but used their biggest pass play of the season to stretch that lead to 28-13. Backup quarterback Brayden Yates connected with Garrett Hendrix on a pass in the flat that Hendrix turned into a 97-yard touchdown catch.
Woodland later stretched the lead on Drummond’s fourth touchdown and then capped their scoring on a 37-yard field goal by Noah Waites.
Hendrix finished with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. Yates, who played almost the entire game after starter Callen Gay went out with an apparent knee injury after the second play of the night, completed 4-of-9 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, with one interception.
Woodland closed out the win despite a scary moment about midway through the third quarter. Defensive lineman Cade Cross went down with an injury on a Central running play and had to be taken from the field in an ambulance. The specifics of his injuries were not made available, but paramedics stabilized his head and neck area and placed him on a stretcher before putting him in the ambulance. Coach Schrenk indicated Cross was being flown to Birmingham, but did not specify which hospital.
“We’re all concerned,” Schrenk said. “I’m sure I’ll be getting in a car and driving to Birmingham [tonight]. I prayed with his mama, and I prayed with the team, and we’ll pray when we get inside. In a deal like that you’ve just got to have faith that God’s going to handle it.”
Woodland is now 2-4 on the season and get its first region win of the year with Friday’s victory. The Bobcats will travel to Vincent next week.
RCHS 35, Saks 14
RCHS head coach Pat Prestridge picked up a milestone victory, and the Tigers remained undefeated with a 35-14 win over Saks on the road Friday.
The win was officially number 147 for Prestridge as head coach at RCHS, which ties him with the great Ron Watters for the most all time in school history. Prestridge can pass Watters on the field that bears Watters’s name next week if he can guide his team to a win over Walter Wellborn.
The record-tying win looked a lot like the team’s previous five victories this season, as the Tigers rushed for 387 yards as a team and had all three of their first-team back go over the century mark on the ground.
Mo Winston ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, Austin Terrell rushed 11 times for 114 yards and a score, and Amari Molden added 108 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Winston turned quaterback Avion Willis’s only pass completion (in two attempts) into a 35-yard touchdown as well as the Tigers moved to 6-0.
Handley 39, Anniston 6
Handley got a huge night from quarterback Cannon Kyles and the Tigers moved one major step closer to a region title with a convincing 39-6 win over Anniston Friday in Roanoke.
Kyles rushed for over 100 yards and threw for nearly 200 without throwing an incompletion as Handley led from start to finish. The senior quarterback finished with 106 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries and was a perfect 6-for-6 through the air for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Big plays were the name of the game for Kyles and the Handley offense. Kyles’s rushing scores came from 15 and 75 yards out, and his touchdown passes went for 91 and 65 yards.
E.J. Goss led Handley on the ground with 164 yards and a touchdown, and he was on the receiving end of that 91-yard touchdown pass from Kyles.
Daquavian Slaughter caught the 65-yarder, and Handley also got a short touchdown run from Nemo Askew.
Handley is now 6-1 and 2-0 in region play. They travel to Talladega next week.
Clay Central 47, Valley 0
Vincent 33, Ranburne 20