Woodridge football's rally falls just short at Cloverleaf

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Woodridge wide receiver Kamari Mitchell snags a catch in the end zone during the Bulldogs' 38-35 loss at Cloverleaf Sept. 4.

The Woodridge football game Sept. 4 at Cloveleaf had a little bit of everything — except a victory for the Bulldogs.

Woodridge nearly rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter, but a Hail Mary pass from quarterback Ben Kiser went incomplete as time expired, cementing a 38-36 win for the Colts in Metro Athletic Conference action.

Woodridge fell to 0-2 on the season, while Cloveleaf improved to 2-0.

"It was a kind of a back and forth game," said Woodridge coach Jeff Decker said. "At the end of the game, they had a kickoff turnover. That gave us a chance to get back into it. We had a chance for a 40-yard throw at the end, but it didn't work out.

"Certainly, both teams had their share of mistakes, especially on special teams for us,"  Decker added. "They threw three interceptions in the game."

It was an up-and-down game for both quarterbacks. Cloverleaf's Logan Tierney threw three touchdowns in the first quarter — but one of those went to the Bulldogs

Owen Thompson picked off Tierney and returned the ball 48 yards for a touchdown with 4:25 left in the first quarter. It was a start of a big game for Thompson, who finished with two pick-sixes on the night.

Woodridge defensive back Owen Thompson breaks into the open during the Bulldogs' 38-36 loss at Cloverleaf Sept. 4. Thompson returned two touchdowns for loss in the game.

However, Tierney threw a second touchdown pass to make it 14-7 in favor of the Colts after one quarter. Tierney finished 13 of 21 for 154 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions on the night.

Meanwhile, Kiser had a rough evening, going 9 of 21 for 68 yards and one touchdown.

Decker said his quarterback was put in some touch situations.

"It was more game situation stuff," Decker said. "When you're down two touchdowns, you have to do some things to get back in the game. This is isn't a typical Woodridge offense where we spread everyone out. We're running the ball more this year.

"Some of it wasn't his fault. On a couple of occasions, we had guys running bad routes."

After the two teams traded field goals in the second quarter, Cloverleaf's lead was 17-10.

However, the Bulldogs cut it 17-16 with 5:14 left in the third quarter when Dayshawn Garr plunged into the end zone from a yard out. Woodridge missed the extra point.

Momentum swung right back to the Colts as Kodey Trent ran back the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.

A fumble on a punt return was then recovered by Cloveleaf's Kale Baker in the end zone, giving the Colts at 31-16 advantage after three quarters.

"We gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown," Decker said. "We fumbled a punt return. There were a lot mistakes like that for our guys."

The Bulldog did not give up. Thompson snagged his second interception for a touchdown — this time returning it 34 yards — to open the fourth quarter, but the extra point was blocked.

After the Colts fumbled on the ensuing kick, Garr ran in his second touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line and the extra point cut the lead to to 31-19.

Garr finished with 16 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

Clinging to the lead, Cloverleaf scored again when running back Michael Williams took a sweep 75 yards for a touchdown with 4:44 left in the game.

Williams led all rushers with 151 yards on just eight carries.

"We had a tough time stopping them on the ground," Decker said.

Again, Woodridge responded as Kiser threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kamari Mitchell with 1:21 left in the game.

Mitchell had two receptions for 25 yards a touchdown, while Jacob Nelson led Woodridge with three reception for the 30 yards.

Woodridge forced Cloverleaf to go three-and-out on their final drive, giving themselves a final shot.

Kiser attempted to hit Mitchell again in the end zone, but the ball fell incomplete, giving the Colts the victory.

"Our offense did get a bit of rhythm in the second half," Decker said. "It just wasn't enough."

Woodridge was set to travel to MAC rival Streetsboro Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.