As Woodville prepared for another Section onside kick, Woodville head coach Tyler Vann said to no one in particular ‘nothing can ever be easy.’
Aside from some last-minute drama, the Panthers made it look easy Thursday night.
Woodville (5-5) scored touchdowns on their its first five possessions to build a three-score lead before holding off visiting Section’s late rally attempt for a 34-28 victory at Woodville High School’s Frazier Field.
The win tied the Woodville program record for wins in a season and gave the Panthers a three-game winning streak for just the second time since the program started in 2006. Woodville also improved to 3-0 all-time against Section at Frazier Field.
The home team has won the last five games in the series.
“Huge (win) for us,” Vann said. “Our guys are playing hard. Got a win headed into the (Class 1A) playoffs. Three (wins) in a row. Going on the road, we have an opportunity at Pickens (County). They’re a really good football team, but we’re playing our best football.”
Jackson Peek had another strong night for Woodville, rushing for 269 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries while also completing 4-of-6 passes for 48 yards and two scores.
“He’s a player. He’s a leader. He was seeing holes tonight I wasn’t seeing,” Vann said. “Dude was making plays. Our guys (up front) did a great job.”
“For us defensively, we had trouble stopping them,” said Section head coach Chris Hammon. “(Peek) is a really good player. I don’t know how many tackles he broke, but it was a bunch.”
An early defensive stop by Woodville changed the momentum. A 45-yard pass from Jace Holcomb to Cam Summerford set Section (5-5) up inside the Panthers 20-yard line on the game’s first drive, but Woodville ultimately stopped Holcomb short on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches.
The Panthers followed with an 11-play, 83-yard drive that was capped off by Peek’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Josh Thompson on third-and-19. Peek ran for the two-point conversion to give Woodville an 8-0 lead with 1:48 left in the first quarter.
Section pulled to within 8-6 on Summerford’s 42-yard touchdown 32 seconds later, but Woodville stretched the lead to 16-6 early in the second quarter on Peek’s 6-yard touchdown run and his jump pass for the two-point conversion to Carlos Torres, who made a leaping grab while falling backwards.
The Lions cut the Woodville lead to 16-14 with 4:27 left in the half on Jr. Walker’s 1-yard touchdown run and Holcomb’s two-point conversion pass to Jacob Cooper, but the Panthers extended their lead to 22-14 with 25 seconds left until halftime when Torres caught a screen pass from Peek and weaved his way through traffic for a 12-yard touchdown catch.
Touchdown runs of 8 and 16 yards from Peek pushed Woodville in front 34-14 in the third quarter. After Summerford’s 19-yard touchdown run and Alex Guinn’s PAT cut the Woodville lead to 34-21 with 1:59 remaining, Section’s Connor Sronvi recovered an onside kick to give the Lions possession again. Section cashed in the recovery, pulling to within 34-28 with 29 seconds remaining on Holcomb’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Summerford and Guinn’s PAT.
But Peek recovered the ensuing onside kick for Woodville, and the Panthers took a knee to end it.
Cam Talley had 42 rushing yards on 10 carries for Woodville while Thompson had three catches for 34 yards and seven tackles on defense. Peek had eight tackles while Torres had six and Brett Burger had five.
Holcomb finished 9-of-15 passing for 153 yards for Section, which plays at Westbrook Christian in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs next week. Summerford had 111 yards rushing on seven carries and had three catches for 51 yards. Jacob Cooper caught four passes for 54 yards and Guinn had one for 32. Walker ran for 45 yards on 16 carries..