By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Helped by a pair of big special teams plays in the second half, Coosa Christian won its first Class 1A Region 7 game of the season on Friday, downing Woodville by a score of 39 to 24 in Gadsden.
Coming out of halftime with a 14-8 lead, the Conquerors (2-7, 1-7) scored 15 points in four plays to keep the Panthers (0-9, 0-8) at bay.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Seth Williamson scooped up a Woodville fumble and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown.
David Kim’s extra point made it 21- 8 with 16 seconds gone in the third quarter.
The Panthers, however, answered with an 11-play, 63 yard possession that ended with Zach Camp’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Brand on fourth down and four at 5:18. Devin Mason’s 2-point conversion run drew the visitors within 21-16.
Coosa responded three plays later when Johnny Grizzard’s 41-yard touchdown run pushed the Conqueror advantage to 27-16 at the 4:13 mark of the quarter.
Woodville then put together a 13-play 60-yard drive that culminated in Mason’s 10-yard scoring pass to Richie Wilkins.
Wilkins ran in the two-point conversion to draw Woodville within 27-24 at 9:37 of the fourth quarter.
That was as close as the Panthers would get.
Taking over at its own 31, Coosa used a 33-yard run by Ben Mills to get into Panther territory.
Grizzard’s 12-yard pass to Mills brought the ball to the Woodville 20, where Grizzard found brother Wesley at the goal line for the score. The PAT failed, but Coosa extended its lead to nine points with 7:19 left in the game.
The Conquerors second big special teams play came on the following kickoff when Caleb Sanderson recovered an onside kick at midfield.
Coosa quickly took advantage when Grizzard hit Isaac Hamby on a 32-yard pass play.
Three plays later, Mills scored from seven yards out with 5:36 remaining.
The extra point was no good, but Coosa went ahead 39-24.
Woodville’s final drive ended on a failed fourth down conversion attempt at the Conqueror 38, and with 3:32 remaining Coosa was able to run out the clock for the win.
“Sending our seniors out of here with a win on Senior Night was really big for us,” said Coosa Christian head coach Scott Clifton. “We’ve had a saying here the last few weeks, Go Big or Go Home, and it paid off tonight. We challenged our kids to come out in the second half and play better. We made some adjustments and that was big in taking that kickoff down for a touchdown. Our kids played their hearts out, and tonight was a testament to them.”
Coosa outgained Woodville in total yardage, 390 to 291, including a 295 to 238 advantage on the ground.
Mills finished with 217 rushing yards on 22 carries while, Grizzard added 70 yards on five carries.
Grizzard completed five of 16 passes for 95 yards.
“Penalties and special teams got us beat tonight,” said Woodville head coach Franklin Pritchard. “We had two penalties early in the game that stopped two drives, and then in the second half they took the ball away from us on the kick return returned it for a touchdown. We just made too many mistakes to overcome.”
For Woodville, Devin Mason rushed 37 times for 147 yards, while Zach Camp was 4-for-8 for 53 yards in passing.
Woodville opened the scoring when Dalton Thompson recovered a fumble at the Coosa 33 at 7:38 of the first quarter. Four plays later, Mason took it in from 20 yards out.
The two-point conversion was good, giving the Panthers an 8-0 lead at 5:20 in the first quarter.
Coosa tied the game on Mills’ 27-yard touchdown run and Grizzard’s two-point conversion pass at 4:34 of the second period.
The Conquerors took the lead for good with 1:24 left in the first half on Mill’s 40 yard touchdown run.
Coosa Christian finishes the season on Friday at home against Southeastern.