Woodland Hills blasts Norwin
The Norwin Knights had designs on pulling off a mammoth upset on the school’s Homecoming Day.
But after a tied score at halftime, the Woodland Hills Wolverines exploded for three touchdowns during a span of 5:14 early in the third period and rolled to a 39-7 Quad East Conference victory Saturday afternoon at Norwin Stadium.
The Knights controlled the ball for 23 of the game’s first 29 plays, taking a 7-0 lead with 7:23 left in the first half on a 31-yard run by Justin Parry. The scoring play was helped by a solid, downfield block from lineman Casey Robinson.
Parry ran for 90 yards in the first half.
“Justin ran hard and the line blocked well in the first half,” said Norwin coach Tim McCabe. “What we wanted to do was control the ball, but we couldn’t when we got behind by a couple of touchdowns.”
After the Norwin touchdown, the Knights stopped Woodland Hills on downs and regained possession at its 37. But a pair of sacks from Wolverines defensive lineman Joe Jones on Knights quarterback T.J. Salonek forced Norwin to punt from deep in its territory.
Woodland Hills fielded the punt on the Norwin 49 and took just three plays to score. A 24-yard pass near the left sideline from Dennis Sellman to David Mathis to get the Wolverines on the scoreboard with 1:28 to go in the half.
“The defense made some big plays to set us up with that first touchdown,” said Woodland Hills coach George Novak. “Coach (Bill) Morton made some adjustments because they were running the ball on us.”
With Woodland Hills bottled up at its 12 on third down after receiving the second half kickoff, Mathis took a reverse and raced 88 yards as the Wolverines took the lead for good
“When they busted that big reverse on us, I thought that was the turning point of the game,” McCabe said. “That took the wind out of our sails and put the coal in their furnaces.”
“For us, that seemed to be the big play for us,” Novak said. “We worked on that all week and it worked out pretty well for us today.”
But the Wolverines weren’t finished. Three plays later, a snap went over the Norwin punter’s head, and Woodland Hills took over at the Knight 2. Joe McDaniel scored two plays later to make it 19-7.
Norwin then lost the ball on downs near midfield, and that enabled Steffan Brinson to peel off a tackler on the left side and race 47 yards for another Wolverines touchdown.
A 44-yard pass to Devon Lyons, the Division I college prospect’s only reception of the day, set up another Woodland Hills touchdown, a two-yard run by Troy Jones that sent many in the large crowd headed for the exits.
Reserve Shain Oliver’s 21-yard run late in the game concluded the scoring.
The Woodland Hills defense held Norwin to 17 net yards rushing in the second half.
“It was a tale of two halves,” McCabe said. “In years past, they were mostly a running team, but this year, they’re balanced.”
Norwin will travel to Penn Hills on Friday while Woodland Hills will play host to Connellsville.