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Woodridge starts slow, but routs Manchester

by Matt Deutsch | Correspondent Published: September 11, 2016 12:00 AM
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Peninsula -- Given that Woodridge put up 49 points in the first quarter in week one, one might think coach Jeff Decker was concerned when his team started slowly Sept. 2 against Akron Manchester.

By the end of the game, however, Decker was all smiles.

Woodridge built momentum throughout the contest with Manchester, eventually running out 49-7 winners at Lahoski Field.

Woodridge improved to 2-0, while Manchester dropped to 0-2.

Decker credited Manchester with some stout early defense.

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"We started kind of slow in the first quarter," Decker said. "They did some things that stopped our running game early, but we were still able to run the ball.

"We adjusted to what they were doing and got the passing game going," he added. "They had 10 guys within five yards of the line of scrimmage on most plays, so we had to throw the ball."

After being stuffed on Woodridge's first two drives, running back King Alfred Sanders opened the scoring in dramatic fashion.

Sanders stiff-armed a pair of Manchester defenders, sprinted to the left sideline and ran 66 yards for a touchdown with 3:23 left in the first quarter. Woodridge missed the extra point, but led 6-0 after one quarter.

After a mediocre passing game in week one, the Bulldogs may have wondered if the football gods were against them early in the second quarter.

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Bulldog quarterback Mason Lydic threw a perfect long bomb to wideout Jacob Margroff -- only to have Margroff drop what would have been a sure touchdown.

Margroff admitted he didn't want to go back to the huddle after the drop.

"I just told myself, 'Come on Jacob, you've got to have a short memory,'" Margroff said.

"I told him to go get three more touchdowns," Lydic said. "I told him look what I did last week. Every quarterback makes bad decisions and every receiver drops balls."

Margroff made up for the drop by scoring Woodridge's next two touchdowns.

First, Margroff ran in an 11-yard screen pass from Lydic with 3:51 left in the first half. Woodridge then faked the extra point, as Lydic threw to Robbie Taylor to complete the two-point conversion and make it 14-0.

Then, Margroff hauled in a 45-yard bomb for a touchdown, ripping the ball away from a Manchester defender with 1:10 left in the half.

Margroff had four catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns and also had several nice punt returns for Woodridge.

After his subpar game in week one, Lydic was back to his efficient self, going 9-of-13 for 155 yards passing and three touchdowns.

Up 21-0 at halftime, Woodridge stuffed Manchester's offense on its first drive, as the Panthers had no answers for the swarming Bulldogs.

"Our defense is fast," Decker said. "Each kid knows his role. When our kids are in the right position, they force you to make solid plays to get first downs. We got some good pressure on their quarterback."

Manchester quarterback Dalton Earich was able to make some plays while scrambling, but he was under siege most of the game. Earich finished 6-of-11 for 49 yards and an interception through the air and ran 10 times for 31 yards.

Meanwhile, Woodridge stretched the lead to 28-0 when Lydic found Sharif Howard open on a hitch route for a 19-yard touchdown with 6:45 left in the third quarter.

Woodridge benefited from a short field in the second half.

First, a punt return by Margroff set Woodridge up at the Panther 11. One play later, Sanders ran up the gut for an 11-yard touchdown.

Sanders finished with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just 12 carries.

Then, Woodridge junior King Alcardon Sanders snagged the game's lone turnover when he picked off Earich and returned the ball to the Panther 1.

Woodridge let Alcardon finish the drive, as he ran in a 1-yard touchdown on the next play.

With Woodridge's reserve defense in, Manchester was able to avoid the shutout. Backup quarterback Caleb Duckett threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jack Hettich with 4:55 left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, however, King Alfred Sanders completed the rout by returning the kick 97 yards for a touchdown.

Woodridge was set to travel to Decker's roots Sept. 9 at Chagrin Falls, but results were not available at press time.

Lydic said he would love to get the program's first win at Chagrin Falls.

"It would mean a lot," Lydic said. "We've got to prepare for a tough game."

Woodridge will open its Portage Trail Conference Metro Division schedule by hosting Ravenna Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Lahoski Field.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC

Twitter:@MLeonard_RPC


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