McDonogh 35 needed every second of the third quarter to finally give itself some breathing room.
Coach Wayne Reese said he thought his team “lacked the necessary intensity to compete” early in the contest. But No. 13 seed McDonogh 35 outpaced Woodlawn of Shreveport 26-6 in the opening round of the Class 4A nonselect state playoffs Friday night at Pan American Stadium.
Senior running back Darrius May provided a steady dose of elusiveness and hard running. May got loose in open field for his second score of the game from 16 yards; that was the final score of the game, allowing him to end the night with 193 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
“Darrius really wanted the ball,” Reese said. “You can blame the slow start on us. We wanted to do some different things out there tonight. Once they fell through, we went back to our bread and butter with Darrius. We fed him in the second half and he got into rhythm.”
Both teams traded punts before McDonogh 35 (9-2) got its offense in gear. Brad Stewart got behind the Knights secondary and hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Lejohn Howard, extending the lead to 18-6. The score was set up by a Sci Martin sack of Woodlawn’s Treveion Youngblood, which forced a turnover on downs.
Woodlawn (6-5) needed to generate some life in the second half despite only being down one score. Knights coach Jerwin Wilson opted to roll the dice and squib the second-half kickoff. The Knights were able to recover deep in Roneagles territory.
“We needed that momentum to be in my favor after halftime,” Wilson said. “I hoped to generate some points, but we couldn’t get things in gear.”
The Knights were one-dimensional the entire game, rushing for 100 yards on 35 carries. Running back Trevensky Mosley led the way with 51 yards and a touchdown. Youngblood added 46 yards and 153 yards through the air.
The Roneagles trotted into halftime clinging to a six-point lead. May rushed for 95 of his 193 yards in the first half to help give some breathing room in a tight opening half.
The senior tailback darted in for a 19-yard touchdown run to stretch the lead to 12-6 with 6:22 left in the second quarter.
Woodlawn finally got on the board after Youngblood borrowed in from 1 yard to tie the score at 6. The score was redemption from their opening 72-yard drive, which was marred by a costly end-zone interception.
McDonogh 35 posted four straight runs on its opening drive to settle on the Knights’ 1-yard line. Howard capped the drive by rushing in from a yard out to go ahead 6-0 in the first quarter.