This District 5-5A football game didn’t illustrate offense. The winning team rushed for less than 150 yards and the two teams combined for 103 passing yards.
With its offense locked down for much of the night, Woodlawn showed that three second-half turnovers were enough to net a 21-13 victory over McKinley on Thursday night at WHS.
“I got called for two pass interference penalties earlier, and I knew I needed to make a play,” WHS defensive back Shawn White said.
It was White’s interception with a minute remaining that locked up win for Woodlawn in the battle of the 5-5A Panthers.
Ryan Williams recovered a fumble that led to Woodlawn’s go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Quentin Nonette blocked a point-after kick and added a sack that led to a fumble recovery by Jeremy Jackson in the fourth quarter.
Jackson’s fumble recovery set up the biggest offensive play of the night, a 33-yard TD run by sophomore Javin Myers with 4:41 remaining.
“That’s why I wanted this Woodlawn job, to be around these coaches and these players week in and week out,” Woodlawn coach Brett Beard said. “These kids in this district, whether it’s Woodlawn or McKinley, they know how to fight.
“It came down to the ball bouncing our way finally. We’ve still got some things to clean up. We haven’t peaked yet.”
Myers ran for a game-high 94 yards on 15 carries and scored two TDs to lead the offense for Woodlawn (6-4, 2-3). WHS likely assured itself of a first-round playoff game at home with the win. Quarterback Charles Brooks ran for 50 yards and passed for 61 for the winners.
McKinley (4-6, 1-4) came into the game seeded 35th among 5A teams in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s power ratings. MHS will now need some help to make the playoffs.
“This hurts because this is such a great senior group,” McKinley coach Robert Signater said. “You can’t have turnovers like we did and when we did and expect to win. We gave it away. But you have to credit Woodlawn, they made the plays.”
Charles Vaughn ran for 85 yards on 15 carries and scored a TD to lead the MHS offense.
A 16-yard run on a reverse by Nick Wiggins helped McKinley score first. A facemask penalty tacked on to the end of the Wiggins run gave MHS a first-and-goal at the WHS 8. Juwan Ruffin ran to the left pylon to make it 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Woodlawn answered with a 13-play, 63-yard drive. Brooks ran for gains of 12 and 11 yards along the way before Myers tied it with a 2-yard run with 7:06 remaining in the half.
McKinley’s first costly fumble came late in the third quarter. Williams atoned for a fumble of his own in the first half by scooping up the ball up inside the MHS 10.
Woodlawn took over at the MHS 9 and scored on Brooks’ 6-yard TD pass to Courtlen Walker that made it 14-7 after Hassan Chabayta’s PAT kick.
McKinley responded with a 16-play drive. Vaughn powered his way behind a line led by Tulane commitment Keeyon Smart. Vaughn’s 6-yard TD got MHS within one with 7:52 left. That’s when Nonette blocked the PAT kick by Aden Lopez.
“We just knew had to make plays,” Nonette said. “I got in there and blocked it.”
After Nonette and Jackson teamed up the sack/recovery, Myers knew it for some offense.
“I got close to one (a big run) a couple of times,” Myers said. “I finally broke that one.”