Calon Cottle doesn't get the ball in his hands all that often. But when he does good things seem to happen for the Wadley Bulldogs.
Cottle touched the ball four times and scored touchdowns on three of those touches, and Wadley put together a smothering defensive effort to come away with a 29-0 win over Woodland Friday in Wadley.
The win keeps Wadley unbeaten on the season and allows them to inch one game closer to clinching a region title.
For Woodland it's another hard-fought loss that for much of the game was much closer than the final score would indicate. The Bobcats were effective at maintaining possession and working their ground-based, clock-chewing offense, but they were not effective enough to reach the end zone.
That style of play limited Wadley's opportunities in the first half and led to the Bulldogs entering the locker room with just an 8-0 lead.
Woodland's best scoring opportunity came on its first possession of the second half. The 'Cats forced a Wadley fumble and recovered near midfield. A 17-yard pass play and a subsequent 15-yard facemask penalty gave Woodland a first down on the Wadley 28-yard line.
But from there the Wadley defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs. Three plays later Jumall Buchanan broke into the clear for the longest play of the night for either team, a 56-yard touchdown run that put Wadley up 15-0 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
That touchdown by Buchanan was the only one that Cottle didn't score. He caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, made another 21-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter, then put the game fully out of reach with a 17-yard touchdown run on a beautifully executed reverse with just over five minutes left in the game.
In all Cottle ran twice for 38 yards and caught two passes for 45 yards to average over 20 yards per play.
Cottle got the glory, but Buchanan and Jacob Marable did most of the dirty work between the goal lines for Wadley, which racked up 326 rushing yards in the game.
Buchanan finished with 136 yards on nine carries, and Marable ran 13 times for 100 yards.
That success on the ground stood in contrast to Woodland's offense, which had to claw for every yard it got against a stout Wadley front. Woodham was held under 100 yards on the ground for the first time this season as he finished with 80 yards on 22 carries.
Woodland managed just 120 yards of total offense in the game.
Wadley came into the game undefeated and ranked No. 7 in the state in Class 1A. With the win the Bulldogs now have an opportunity to clinch a region title next week if they can remain unbeaten and defeat Ragland.
Woodland falls to 1-5 on the season with the loss, but the Bobcats are very much in control of their own destiny when it comes to their playoff hopes. If the Bobcats can win their next two games – against Talladega County Central and Victory Christian – they can almost certainly secure a playoff spot.
Fayetteville 50, RCHS 8 (Thursday)
Handley 35, Jacksonville 20
LaFayette 33, Ranburne 14
Clay Central 62, Talladega 7
Look for full coverage of these games, plus a breakdown of each team's playoff situation in next week's print edition of the Randolph Leader.