Senior wide receiver Tyler Patrick and the 6th ranked Woodlands High School football team were just too much for the Oak Ridge War Eagles Friday night, turning a close game at halftime into a rout, 46-21 at Woodforest Bank Stadium.
Patrick had a memory making night hauling in four Chris Andritsos TD aerials and threw in a 61 yard punt return for another TD for good measure as The Woodlands (8-2, 6-0) clinched the District 14-5A title outright.
Oak Ridge (7-3, 3-3) was not intimidated on this night, as they knew going in if they were to have a chance, they’d have to stay real close in the first half as the Highlanders had not given up a touchdown in the second half to their previous six opponents.
After a quick Andritsos to Patrick 38 yard scoring strike with only 3:32 gone in the first quarter, the War Eagles started to do work and took the lead early in the second quarter on the strength of nine and three yards runs by Kwame Etwi and Justin Edwards, respectively.
Not impressed, Andritsos and Patrick got together on two more TD connections of 13 and 36 yards and The Woodlands was up 21-14 at the intermission.
After the break, the Highlanders were true to form as on the first play from scrimmage senior Sterling Scott took it right up the gut for 75 yards to the two yard line. Patrick Carr took it in from there and with the extra point try going wide right, The Woodlands was up 27-14 with only 29 seconds off the clock in the third quarter.
After a Woodlands defensive stop, Andritsos aired one out to Chris Bell and the Highlanders were in business again deep in Oak Ridge territory. The Oak Ridge defense came through and The Woodlands had to settle for a Ryan Spaulding 25 yard field goal. Oak Ridge was still hanging around, down 30-14 with just under six minutes to go in the third.
The Woodlands D came up big with another stop and the War Eagles had to give the ball away again. Another Andritsos/Patrick TD connection, this time for 28 yards and Oak Ridge fell further behind, 37-14.
Oak Ridge went three and out and Patrick Coale’s punt resulted in Tyler Patrick’s punt return to paydirt. The War Eagles were down 44-14 as the third quarter mercifully ended.
To start the fourth quarter,The Woodlands lineman Tanner Birdsong sacked Oak Ridge QB Jacob Norton in the end zone for a safety and the Highlanders stretched their lead to 46-14.
Oak Ridge continued to fight and did something no other team has been able to do against The Woodlands in two months: score a touchdown in the second half, as Justin Edwards barged through for a one yard TD. With Coale’s kick, Oak Ridge was down 46-21.
The Woodlands sat on the ball to run out the clock and both teams were now more interested in their first playoff opponents.
Both teams qualified for postseason play in the Class 5A Division I bracket. Oak Ridge will play district 13-5A champion Spring Westfield (10-0) at Leonard George Stadium in Spring on Thursday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. The Woodlands will host district 13-5A runner-up Klein (6-4) at Woodforest Bank Stadium on Friday, November 15, at 7:00 p.m.
WORTHY OF NOTE:
We won’t be going crazy this week with W.O.N. because the team has work to do and the regular season is in the past. Let’s look at how the team came in second in the conference and have a playoff game on Thursday instead of dwelling on the last three regular season games.
COACHING: Dereck Rush and Company did an excellent job working with the team readjusting to not having Braden Letney at QB. I counted four players at QB and there may have been more. Various formations were used and not all of them had been used this season. That shows how well coached the players are. O-Line coach Richard Compton has the line playing to the best of their ability. At times he has to go ballistic convincing his players they can do better. Do they do better? Yep. They do.
FAN SUPPORT: Oak Ridge fans packed the house, and provided the War Eagles with a true home-field advantage. Not an easy task given the proximity to The Woodlands. They have remained supportive throughout the season. This includes Clayton Grett who is out with an injury to his squash, and effectively reduced to a spectator Friday night. He was heard telling his teammates late in the third quarter, “We have nothing to lose… make some plays!”
JOSH LOWE: If you watch Lowe play center, he is mechanically sound but he takes a beating out there. All centers do. Watching him on the sidelines limp around and go out on the field every offensive series is testament to his mental and physical toughness. It’s not an easy position to play. No matter what is called, the center gets in a car crash every play. Be thankful we have this guy out there.
JACOB NORTON: 23-34 for 176 yards with one pick. Well done, Norton! Oak Ridge is in capable hands.
SHORT PEOPLE: Collin Brimberry caught 4 passes for 17 yards. However, The W has a smaller guy. Sterling Scott ran six times for 122 yards. I don’t care what team he plays for… he’s awesome in our book.
TRAITOR: It was humorous to see our fans call Patrick Carr a traitor. If you know the whole story it’s a little deeper than that and he’s not a traitor. It would be cool to see him play for Oak Ridge though.
GONG GUY: We screwed up a couple of weeks ago. Although Stone Raines plays various instruments, he does not play the gong much. Connor Ames is the gong guy. We know Ames is an OU fan and a frosh. We’ll be investigating Ames for the next four days and will report back to you. Unfortunately, if he has any ties to Chuck Barris and the CIA and we tell you… we’ll have to kill you. [Editor’s Note: No one under the age of 50 gets that obscure reference.]
GAME WITHIN A GAME: During the game, if you pay close attention to the bands, there is another game going on. It is not a competitive game though. It’s like the bands are having conversations with each other in code. I asked several people, including parents, and no one could give me a decent answer as to exactly what the communication is. Conclusion: It’s a band thing.
LIBERTY BELLES AND HIGHSTEPPERS: Ok we all know how good the Belles are. Can we agree that the Woodlands Highsteppers are pretty awesome, too? Did you see their routine? Good grief!
TWHS BAND HALFTIME SHOW: It was a train theme with props and the whole works. They do everything top shelf like we do. One problem… does someone want to inform them that they do not have train tracks on that side of the highway? We own the train tracks. We cross them most every day. OK, OK, the old “Oak Ridge is on the other side of the tracks” motivation is outdated.
I’M A BEAST! Evidently, this song by T. Powell is supposed to motivate young people and, in particular, our football team. Players ran out of the tunnel to this song in the second half. The Highlanders scored like four seconds later. It’s time to retire “I’m a Beast”. We suggest going with “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin. [Another Editor’s Note: I think most Oak Ridge parents would agree: We need to make this happen.]
TRAINER OF THE WEEK RANDI HAYDON: Randi is the trainer hobbling around with a boot on. That’s pretty cool and even a good inspiration to the football players that we have an injured trainer working while hurt. Randi looks forward to studying Sports Medicine in college. It is a major passion to her and I’ll let her describe it.”Being able to be on the sideline of every game is one of the highlights of my week. Getting to learn about all of the injuries is interesting, too.”
Randi is also in FFA which is another school activity she has passion for. She is in the FFA and has been raising a Red Brahman heifer. After college, she wants to be a trainer and buy and sell cattle on the side. Randi is very thankful for all of the opportunities the athletic training program and FFA have given her. “I can’t wait to proceed with both of them in the future”, she said. Oh, you wanna know how she hurt her leg? She was showing her heifer at State Fair of Texas when the big animal got scared and jumped on Randi’s foot. She’ll be in a walking boot for three weeks… and still working!
WOODLANDS CLASS: Say what you want about The Woodlands and their football program but they operate with class and they play with sportsmanship. Yeah, like us they’ll have an individual run adrift in the character department but the offender is straightened out real quick. Both teams are on top of the character issue and it’s nice to run into a team that plays with as much as class as we do.
That’s all we got. Stats for the game as reported by HCN are below. Until we meet in Spring, Go Oak Ridge!!
Comments to Doug Sarant at email@example.com.
Rushing — The Woodlands: Sterling Scott 6-122, Patrick Carr 15-38, Chris Andritsos 4-14, Dylan Larsen 1-2. Oak Ridge: Justin Edwards 7-39, Ewame Etwi 15-36, Jamarqus Durst 1-18, Jacob Norton 8-13, Lamar Handy 1-12, Riley McKnight 3-8: .
Passing — The Woodlands: Andritsos, 14-20-1, 279 yards. Oak Ridge: Jacob Norton 23-34-1, 176 yards.
Receiving — The Woodlands: Tyler Patrick 5-129, Chris Bell 3-96, Bayley Novak 1-22, Kalif Johnson 2-15, Hunter Moore 2-14, Robert Le Goubin 1-3. Oak Ridge: Jarmarqus Durst 7-116, Lamar Handy 1-17, Collin Brimberry 4-17, Michael Angeletti 3-14, McKnight 2-11, Justin Edwards 3-4.
If you weren’t able to make the long trip to Friday night’s game, Chuck Briese and Jim Eastin have provided some photos that capture the festivities. The good ones, as usual, are from Mr. Eastin.