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There was very little drama in the outcome when Woodland and Wadley met Friday night in the regular season finale for both teams. The 56-21 final score tells you all you need to know in that regard.
But for Wadley the game will serve as a useful tuneup as it prepares for its playoff odyssey.
And on a night when Woodland honored its seniors it was a group of underclassmen that gave a promising tease of what could be coming for the Bobcat program in the next couple of years.
It was Wadley’s game from the start as the Bulldogs scuffled through a sloppy first quarter to take a 28-0 lead early in the second. From then on any points that Woodland put on the board, Wadley was able to immediately answer and then some, making sure the Bobcats got no closer than the 28-7 margin they created following their first touchdown of the game.
The scoring came from all sides for Wadley. Yes, the usual suspects of Jaquez Wilkes and Cortavion Lynch got their time in the end zone. But Wadley forced a total of five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbler recoveries) and two of those turnovers became immediate touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Frisco Robertson had two interceptions in the game, and his first he returned for 76 yards and a touchdown to give Wadley a 21-0 lead. Trae Heath got in on the defense-to-offense act when he recovered a fumbled Woodland snap in its own end zone and put Wadley up 28-0 with 9:47 left in the first half.
When Woodland was able to hang onto the ball they put they offense mostly in the hands of freshman quarterback Brayden Yates. Yates completed 15-of-29 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. All 15 of those completions went to fellow underclassmen – junior Bradley Brasher (5-75, one TD), freshman Garrett Hendrix (7-94) and junior Christopher Butler (3-53, one TD).
Add in the fact that junior David Noles ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and you can see a formidable returning nucleus of offensive production for the Bobcats.
Of course, Wadley’s young talent was also on display in a big way. Sophomores Jaquez Wilkes and Cortavion Lynch continued to fuel Wadley’s relentless run game. Lynch took his turn on the main stage as he ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries and added one reception for 34 more yards.
Wilkes carried 12 times for 151 yards and a score.
Wadley’s only other touchdown came on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Brent Langley, who also completed 4-of-7 passes for 94 yards.
Wadley finishes the season 9-1 and will host Cedar Bluff in the first round of the 1A state playoffs Thursday.
Woodland’s season ends with a 3-7 record, a two-game improvement from last year in the team’s second season under head coach Joel Schrenk.
RCHS 49, Ranburne 21
RCHS got another huge two-way performance from senior Avion Willis, and the Tigers were able to put the finishing touches on a 9-1 regular season with a 49-21 win over Ranburne Friday in Ranburne.
Willis completed 5-of-9 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns and also picked off three Ranburne passes from his defensive back position to lead the Tigers to their first 9-win season since 2019.
Mo Winston ran for 121 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and also caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Willis. Austin Terrell had eight carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns, and Gavin Wortham caught four passes for 77 yards and a score.
Ranburne quarterback Kaide Garrett ran for 160 yards and all three Ranburne touchdowns, but 71 of those yards and two of the touchdowns came on his final two carries of the night when the game was well in hand for RCHS.
The Tigers also got touchdown runs from Ryder Pinson and Brayden Terrell as part of a rushing attack that ran for 294 yards even without the services of starter Amari Molden.
The Tigers will start postseason play Friday at home against W.S. Neal in the Class 3A first round.
Ranburne finishes its season with a record of 4-6.
Clay Central 28, Wetumpka 7
The Volunteers completed their first-ever 10-0 regular season with a 28-7 win over Wetumpka Friday. The win, in conjunction with results elsewhere in the state, means that the Volunteers will host UMS-Wright in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs next week. The game will bring the state’s two all-time winningest coaches together on the same field as UMS-Wright’s Terry Curtis (354 wins) will go up against Central’s Danny Horn (351 wins).
Barring some unforeseen change, the first-round games for the four local playoff teams will be as follows:
Class 5A – UMS-Wright at Clay Central
Class 4A – St. Michael at Handley
Class 3A – W.S. Neal at RCHS
Class 1A – Cedar Bluff at Wadley
Wadley has already announced that they will play their game Thursday. The other three games are expected to be on Friday.