Cleburne County misfired on its first two scoring opportunities. In the second quarter, the Tigers put together a 16-play drive that covered 78 yards and milked more than six minutes off the clock. A 10-yard run by Trey Bolton started the drive. Quarterback Brady Padgett passed to wide receiver Christian Henson for 11 yards on a third-and-9 call to keep the drive going. An 11-yard run by Padgett set up Bolton’s 5-yard touchdown blast through the right side of the line. Tito Roblero, who was 3-for-3 on extra points, put Cleburne County up 7-0 with 2:13 to go before intermission.
The ensuing kickoff was a miss-hit and Woodland fell on the short kick at the Woodland 47-yard line. Two running plays netted just three yards, and Woodland quarterback John Wes Adcock, who was 0-for-4 passing at that point, threw downfield to John David Jacobs for a 28-yard pickup. From the Cleburne County 22, Adcock connected with Kip Sims for seven yards. After a Bobcat timeout, Adcock rolled to his left and completed a 15-yard touchdown toss to Tyler Rollins in the end zone with 17 seconds left in the half. Mikey Howard’s run added two points and Woodland led 8-7.
“I felt like they came into the game really determined to stop our run, make John Wes throw the ball,” Woodland head coach Larry Strain said. “We had some open receivers, didn’t connect with them early, but then again we made a few plays there as the game progressed, especially on that touchdown drive right there before the halftime, made a couple of big pass plays.”
“That was not the kick we were supposed to have,” Tigers coach Michael Shortt said. “That was a mistake on our part that gave them an opportunity to score right there before the half and that kind of got the momentum going for them.”
The second-half kickoff went to Woodland. An interception by Griffin Turner at the Tiger 34 ended a drive and gave Cleburne County a chance to regain the momentum. Instead, the Tigers were three-and-out and the Bobcats moved 78 yards in five plays to pad their lead. Howard scored on a 1-yard run after Colby Spears ran for 31 yards, then ran for his second 2-point conversion.
After failing to gain a first down and punting three times in the third quarter, Cleburne County’s offense came to life early in the fourth. With his team trailing 16-7, Padgett was 3-for-3 passing in a 60-yard scoring drive. On fourth-and-3 at the Woodland 23, Padgett passed to John Butler at the 20 and Butler did the rest, scoring down the visitors’ sideline. With 7:30 to play, Woodland led only 16-14.
Sims returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Woodland 46. The Bobcats appeared content to run the ball and the clock, but Danny Sweat and Alan Taylor combined to sack Adcock for a 7-yard loss. Adcock lost another yard on a scramble, setting up fourth-and-18 at the Cleburne County 30. Instead of punting, Strain elected to throw deep. Well-covered by Butler at the goal line, Rollins managed to come down with the ball for a touchdown. Sims’ kick just reached the crossbar and Woodland led 23-14 with 2:29 to play.
“John Wes made an excellent throw and you’ve got to give a lot of credit to Tyler. He and the kid from Cleburne County fought for the ball right there and he just came down with the ball in the end zone,” Strain said.
Woodland kicked short. Padgett ran for 14 yards, then completed three consecutive passes, the last good for 17 yards and a touchdown to Henson on a corner route with 1:32 left.
Adcock recovered Cleburne County’s onside kick attempt and two first downs later, the Bobcats had run out the clock.
Afterward, Shortt pointed to the first quarter as his team’s downfall. Two minutes into the game, the Tigers recovered a Woodland fumble at the Woodland 31, had a first down at the 15 and eventually missed a 27-yard field-goal try. With two minutes remaining in the first, a 69-yard drive produced no points when Woodland held on fourth and goal from the 2.
“We had missed opportunities there to be up 17-7 at the half,” Shortt said. “Those opportunities you miss, sometimes you don’t get them again.”
Woodland’s Spears was the rushing leader with 119 yards on seven carries. Howard gained 104 yards on 20 tries, 89 yards coming on 12 second-half runs. Adcock was 7-for-14 through the air for 110 yards. Sims had three receptions for 20 yards and Rollins two for 45.
Playing intermittently on a bad ankle, Bolton ran 13 times for 74 yards. Padgett was 15-for-24 for 171 yards and netted 42 yards rushing on nine carries. Henson had six catches for 59 yards. Jeremiah McLeroy caught three passes for 46 yards and Matthew Morrow had three grabs for 18 yards.