Woodson, Blue Devils Edge McCann Tech, 14-13
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Two key decisions punctuated the end of a one-point affair between the Drury and McCann Tech football teams on Saturday afternoon.
One worked out for the Blue Devils. The other went south for the Hornets.
And Drury won the Steeple City grudge match, 14-13, to improve to 2-1 this fall.
The decision that panned out came on the last play from scrimmage.
Drury faced a fourth-and-1 at its 47 with just more than a minute to go.
Al Marceau called Dante Woodson’s number, and senior spun out of a tackle at the line for two yards that iced the ballgame.
“I saw that screen, how we played that, and I wasn’t taking any chances,” Marceau said, referring to a 25-yard pickup by McCann that set up its second touchdown moments earlier. “It was either going to be get the first down or play defense from the 50.”
Marceau also was swayed by his offensive players’ desire to close out the game.
“My right side of the line, in that timeout, they wanted the ball behind them,” Marceau said. “And when you look into the faces of players, and they’re like, ‘Go behind us. Go behind us.’ They were blitzing, and we got a piece of the blitzing linebacker so Dante could scoot up through there.
“When they ask you to run behind them, you’ve got to show the confidence in them that they’re going to get the job done.”
Woodson finished with 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Louis Guillotte ran for 46 yards for the Blue Devils, who jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and used every bit of that lead down the stretch.
McCann Tech (0-3) had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with 2:33 left in the fourth quarter after David Delisle (49 yards) scored from the 11.
That’s when the first big decision of the final moments was made -- a seemingly safe call to kick for the extra point, as the Hornets had done successfully in the first half, even after a 5-yard penalty pushed the try further from the goalposts.
This time, the kick went just right, giving Drury a chance to put the game away by recovering an onsides kick and generating one first down.
“I’m not going to second guess it,” McCann Tech Tony Skiffington said of his call on the point-after. “He missed a kick. What are you going to do?”
Woodson caught the short kickoff try and then ran 9 yards on first down. McCann Tech’s defense stopped Drury at the line of scrimmage on two straight plays before Woodson was able to “scoot up through” and effectively end the game.
He started it with 33 yards rushing on Drury’s 43-yard drive after Anthony Pettengill took the opening kickoff back 47 yards to give his team great field position.
Woodson scored on a 2-yard run on fourth-and-goal to put Drury up 6-0.
McCann Tech was forced to punt on its first possession, and the Blue Devils went 70 yards on a drive that featured a 28-yard completion from Keeghan Vidal to Payton Barnes. Woodson finished the drive with a 9-yard run and picked up the 2-pointer to give Drury a 14-0 lead with 9 minutes, 12 seconds left until half-time.
It looked like the Drury offense was rolling, but those were the last points that McCann Tech allowed all afternoon.
“We played an exceptional first half, but we did not execute in the second half,” Drury coach Al Marceau said. “I think [McCann Tech] made adjustments. We were comfortable in what we were doing. … But we shot ourselves in the foot. The first half, we were moving the ball, and we turned the ball over twice. And, I mean, we were driving.”
Drury’s third and fourth possessions of the game ended in fumbles.
The first came after McCann Tech scored its first points with a 57-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard run by Delisle to cut the deficit in half, 14-7.
The Hornets started the second half with their best drive of the day, going from their 33 to the Drury 26 in nine plays. But the Blue Devils stuffed a fourth-and-9 run for 2 yards to get the ball back.
Drury was forced to punt from its 15 after taking a couple of penalties on offense on its next possession, and a short punt gave McCann Tech great field position at the Drury 23.
The Hornets made a first down to the 12 but then shot themselves in the foot with back-to-back penalties for illegal procedure and delay of game.
McCann Tech failed to convert a fourth down, and Drury got the ball at its 5, up 14-7, with 6:43 on the clock.
The Blue Devils made a couple of first downs before McCann Tech’s Mutchell Mullett and Dalton Haskins combined on a tackle for loss that turned third-and-11 into fourth-and-16.
Again Drury punted, and a facemask on the play gave the Hornets the ball at the plus-36.
On first down, sophomore Sincere Sanders, who stepped under center after Darian Tovani was hurt late in the second quarter, hit Darius Tovani for a 25-yard gain on a screen pass to set up Delisle’s second touchdown of the afternoon.
“I thought Sincere did an awesome job coming in there,” Skiffington said. “That was a great pass on the screen. It was the only pass he threw. He hasn’t gotten a whole lot of reps with the first team during the week, and he came in and did a great job.”
The three-pronged running attack of Darius Tovani (85 yards), Josh Brazeau (37 yards) and Delisle (49 yards) led McCann Tech’s offense.
The Hornets will look to get their first win next Saturday when they go to Mohawk Trail.
Drury goes to Pathfinder on Friday night before finishing the season with three of four games at home, including a Friday night game on Oct. 18 at Mount Greylock, which is co-opping with Drury this fall.