Wildcats Shut Down James Wood

Posted: September 10, 2016
Special to The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Warren County took advantage of excellent field position on most of its offensive possessions thanks to poor execution on offense and the punt team to topple James Wood 16-7 at Kelican Stadium on Friday night.

The Wildcats’ main weapon was punt returner Cameron Ford, who returned five Colonel punts for 100 yards, setting up Warren County deep in Wood territory several times.

"I thought that our defense played a great game," Colonels coach Mark McHale said. "They had their backs to the wall the whole game. They got great field position almost every time we punted, but our defense was able to hold them off except for a couple of times."

To the Colonels’ credit, it took the Wildcats nearly two quarters to capitalize on Ford’s heroics. Warren County finally broke a scoreless tie with 3:15 left in the first half on a 33-yard field goal by Stuart Ashley.

With the Wildcats leading 3-0 at halftime, a flurry of lightning delayed the start of the second half for an hour and 15 minutes.

On its second drive of the third quarter, Wood drove the ball the length of the field to the Warren County 12 only to be stopped on downs. Warren County took over and drove the ball 88 yards on five plays to get its first touchdown of the night with 5:29 left in the third quarter.

The drive, however, included a stunning 78-yard touchdown pass from Wildcats quarterback Robert Keeney to Brendan McMackin. With the extra point, Warren County expanded its lead to 10-0.

The Colonels finally got on the scoreboard with 8:37 left in the game on a 3-yard run by Isaac Schrantz, giving Wood an opportunity for a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.

Forced to punt from its own 4-yard line, Wood watched helplessly as Ford took the punt on the Colonel 36 and returned it to the 26. After a 23-yard run by Wildcat running back Ronald Dodson put the ball first-and-goal at the Colonel 3, the Wildcats sophomore put it in the end zone on a sweep to the right with just 2:51 left to seal the victory.

"Our defense played good enough to win, but our punt team and our offense just didn’t perform well tonight," McHale said. "We snapped the ball over our quarterback’s head three times tonight, and that kind of stuff will get you beat."