For a half, visiting Richmond Academy gave Woodward Academy all it wanted and then some.
In the end, though, No. 7 Woodward had too much firepower and pulled away for a 48-35 in in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Five different players scored Woodward (10-1), including two from Jacorrei Turner, who caught a 16-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 70 yards for another score.
Kimani Vidal rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game early in the third quarter with a neck injury after being violently pulled down by the facemask.
Vidal was carrying the entire Woodward rushing load because leading rusher Tahj Gary was nursing an ankle injury. After Vidal got hurt, Cross Patton got his chance and finished with 99 yards on 17 carries, all in the second half.
“I just thought I needed to get as many yards as I can,” said Patton. “I just tried to find the hole then use my feet.”
His effort got the attention of his teammates and coaches.
“When we needed Cross he went in there and got the job done,” said quarterback Mike Wright.
The War Eagles won despite being outgained 456-378.
Richmond Academy (5-6), the fourth seed from Region 3-AAAA, got 204 yards and two touchdowns from Malik Knowles and quarterback Mason Cobb completed 10 of 15 passes for 237 yards, connecting with three different receivers for touchdowns.
The Musketeers rolled up 330 yards in the first half and went to intermission trailing 35-28.
“We had so many busts defensively,” said Woodward coach John Hunt. “You’ve got to get 11 guys going right, and when someone goes wrong, the other team will find them,” said Woodward coach John Hunt. “We just simplified things and played a little faster.”
No. 7-ranked Woodward scored a touchdown on all of its first-half drives, and appeared ready to sprint to a big lead after the first two.
“We’ve struggled on defense,” said Richmond Academy coach Lyle Burns. “We knew we’d have a tough time stopping them. We hoped maybe we could stop them a couple more times and maybe give ourselves a better chance.”
Richmond Academy fumbled the opening kickoff at its 27, and the War Eagles needed six plays to take the first lead on Wright’s 5-yard run.
“We have a game plan,” Wright said. “Sometimes we veer off it but today we just stuck with it. We feel like as long as we execute we should score a touchdown every time we have the ball.”
The visitors from the Augusta area showed a glimpse of things to come with a 36-yard pass from Mason Cobb to Cordavin Wayonmon, keying a drive to the Woodward 15 before facing a fourth down. Out of field goal formation, Cobb picked up the snap and attempted a pass, which fell incomplete for the only stop of the first half.
Woodward got a pair of field goals in the third period to go up 41-28.
Richmond Academy made one goal-line stand to turn away a Woodward drive, and then Cobb brought the Musketeers within six points after finding D.T. Stephens on an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Gary came in and sealed the win with a 1-yard touchdown run on his only carry with 1:34 left.
Richmond Academy 7 21 0 7 – 35
Woodward Academy 14 21 6 7 – 48
WA – Mike Wright 5 run (Marshall Golick kick)
WA – Wright 16 pass to Jacorrei Turner (Golick kick)
RA – Mason Cobb 16 pass to Cordavin Wayonmon (Judson Pickett kick)
RA – Cobb 36 pass to Teaco Goudy (Pickett kick)
WA – Kimani Vidal 11 run (Golick kick)
RA – Malik Knowles 16 run (Pickett kick)
WA – Turner 70 kickoff return (Golick kick)
RA – Knowles 30 run (Pickett kick)
WA – Wright 7 pass to Dacori Collins (Golick kick)
WA – Golick 33 field goal
WA – Golic 26 field goal
RA – Cobb 80 pass to D.T. Stephens (Pickett kick)
WA – Tahj Gary 1 run (Golick kick)