GEISMAR - For all the offensive prowess that Dutchtown and Woodlawn high schools brought into their Friday matchup, the first three quarters were about defense and special teams.
Then the excitement began, and Woodlawn fought the second-ranked Griffins down to the wire before falling 23-17 in overtime.
In the fourth quarter, Dutchtown’s Mr. Everything Landon Collins ran 80 yards for a touchdown, Woodlawn had 80-yard and 90-yard TD drives, and Woodlawn’s Jonathan Barnes’ 40-yard field goal was wide left by a whisker as time ran out with the teams tied 17-17.
After Woodlawn (3-5, 1-2 in District 5-5A) went four-and-out on its possession in overtime, Collins carried three straight times for the Griffins, the third try going for 3 yards, a touchdown and a 23-17 win.
“There’s no such thing as a bad win,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “Obviously we didn’t play real well, and we have a lot of things to correct, but it’s a lot easier to correct them with a win.
“Tonight we buckled it up when we had to get the win.”
Rather than the expected offensive fireworks, the first half was highlighted by special teams play and defensive stops.
In the first half, each team kicked a field goal, Woodlawn blocked another field-goal attempt, the Panthers had a takeaway on their own 19-yard line.
Dutchtown (8-0, 3-0) opened the game with a methodical drive to inside the Woodlawn 20, but a 24-yard loss on a mishandled snap and a blocked field goal try kept the Griffins from scoring.
Woodlawn responded by scoring first on a 25-yard field goal by Barnes to take a 3-0 lead.
On their next possession, the Panthers took their first gamble on an attempted fake punt, but Collins pulled down Brent Terrance for a 5-yard loss, and the Griffins took over on the Woodlawn 37.
Nickens gave the Griffins a 7-3 lead with an 11-yard keeper, and they got another short field after a Woodlawn punt, but the drive ended when Collins lost a fumble on the WHS 19.
Dutchtown capitalized on its next possession on a towering 38-yard field goal by Tyler Sarrazin, and the clock ran out on a promising Woodlawn drive with the Griffins leading 10-3.
The third quarter finally brought some big plays, but no points. Collins ended Woodlawn’s first drive with an interception on his own 10. After the Griffins made a first down, Collins broke a 69-yard touchdown run that was called back by an illegal block.
Then, Mason Nickens ran 50-yards for a first down before Woodlawn recovered a fumble on the next play.
Woodlawn mounted a drive of its own, converting a fourth-and-8 into the red zone before Tevin Reid picked off Barnes to stop the threat.
“All you can ask for is a chance to win in the fourth quarter,” Woodlawn coach Don Jones said. “We had our chances, but we couldn’t take advantage of them.
“This is the first time we’ve played together totally as a football team. I expected there would be more points on both sides? just smash-mouth football.”
Collins and Nickens both eclipsed the 100-yard mark with Collins rushing for 162 yards on 18 carries and Nickens adding 106 on nine attempts.
Barnes passed for 244 yards on 18 completions to six different receivers, with Emmanuel Stewart making six catches for 77 yards.
K.C. Collins was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 78 yards and two touchdowns.