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Woodridge dominates rival Streetsboro

by Jonah Rosenblum | ReportER Published: October 2, 2016 12:00 AM
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It started as a showcase.

It turned into a bludgeoning.

Fresh off a blowout of Ravenna, Woodridge ran all over Streetsboro 70-0 Sept. 23 at Streetsboro's Glinatsis Stadium.

Guided by Woodridge's offensive line, King Alfred Sanders had 142 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns -- by halftime. Asked after the game how many hits he took, Sanders guessed he got hit maybe twice.

"I didn't [get hit] at all," Sanders said. "It's the best line there is."

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Bulldogs coach Jeff Decker said that he tells his line every game, "You guys determine the game."

"Plain and simple, I don't care what skill guys you have," Decker said. "The offensive linemen determine the game. You set the tone of the game, even more than the defensive line possibly. You dominate or you impose your will on the other team offensively, and if you can do that, they have no answer for it."

They did that -- and the Rockets had no answer.

Behind "the best line there is," the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 PTC Metro) ran the ball all night. Quarterback Mason Lydic tossed just four passes before he was removed at halftime.

Following a relatively grueling first drive, the Bulldogs were rarely tested again, never facing a third down en route to eight first-half touchdowns.

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That wasn't how the game began -- the first eight minutes looked like the much-anticipated battle of top PTC offenses. Woodridge began with a nine-play, 60-yard drive, with eight of those nine plays coming on the ground.

Sanders put in most of the early yardage, while junior Robert Singletary, fresh off a two-touchdown performance against Ravenna, polished off the drive with a 2-yard scamper.

Decker said the slower pace up the field was intentional. The team began with some "base plays," before "opening things up a bit," which the coach acknowledged, "worked to perfection."

Streetsboro began with a promising drive of its own, as Will Butler found Keshun Jones five times, mostly on inside slants. The drive broke down as the Rockets (3-2, 1-1) approached the red zone. A flag set the Rockets back, and a fake handoff failed to fool Hayden Gerdes, setting up third-and-23. More pressure on third down, led by junior defensive lineman Jaylin Clark, forced Butler to release a quick lob to Dakari Carter that the double-teamed speedster couldn't quite bring down on the sideline.

"They're a kind of team that's going to make you throw the ball in front of them, so we took those," Streetsboro coach John Arlesic said. "Will was doing a good job. [We] were catching the ball, but when you go first-and-20 against Woodridge, you can't do that."

If the opening eight minutes were competitive, the next 16 minutes read like a Bulldogs highlight reel.

After a slew of Sanders runs, Lydic faked a handoff and found junior wide receiver Robbie Taylor on an out route for a 25-yard touchdown down the left sideline.

Then, junior linebacker Spencer Robinson, noting the number of inside slants from the previous drive, stepped in front of another slant to Jones for a leaping pick.

"He's a real instinctual player," Decker said.

Four plays later, Woodridge was in the end zone for a 21-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Rockets' offense fell off its rhythm. Facing a dominant pass rush, Butler was forced to release the ball after a second or two. There was little time to run Streetsboro's usual assortment of deep routes, including Carter and Jones on go routes.

Arlesic said Streetsboro didn't run its usual go routes due to Woodridge doubling its single receiver. Instead, the Rockets opted to throw short, which worked at first but faded as the half went on.

The third Rockets drive included a double-clutch that led to a wild throw to a wide-open Carter, and then a third-down play in which Butler released immediately, firing the ball behind Carter, with the wideout seemingly not even seeing the ball.

Streetsboro's offense was moving too fast -- and Woodridge's offense was scoring quickly in response.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 28-0 when senior wide receiver Jake Margroff took a handoff right, faked another handoff to a teammate running behind him, and tore 58 yards around the right end.

"It's a good play. It's a good play design," Decker said. "Our kids really take everything they do seriously, whether it's a play like that that's a little bit of a trick play or if it's just our regular plays, they take everything really, really seriously to really learn the fine details of why the play should work and what everyone needs to do."

That was a one-play, 58-yard drive -- something that became a pattern as Woodridge's rampage wore on.

The Bulldogs needed just two plays to score the next time they got the ball. Sanders took off around the right end, deftly curving backward around the Streetsboro push and arcing up the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown run.

"He can take that one step and he's got a long stride to get outside you and then he's faster than most people he's going to go against," Decker said.

Following a Rockets three-and-out, Sanders took a counter run untouched around the right end for a 20-yard score.

"We have big goals set and we're just trying to accomplish them," Sanders said.

On the ensuing possession, Lydic curved outside and then back in for a 60-yard keeper to the house. By the time Sanders stepped out of a tackle behind the line of scrimmage for a 12-yard score, the advantage was 56-0 and the entire second half was played under a running clock.

"They're the No. 2 ranked team for a reason," Arlesic said. "No one's going to walk in there and say, 'You got beat 70-0 by a team that wasn't very good.' That's a darn good football team."

Woodridge was set to face Cloverleaf Sept. 30, but results were not available at press time.

The Bulldogs will host Field Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC


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