Eagles Top Woodson to Stay Undefeated
St. Edward defeated Woodson High School (Washington DC) 45-20 on this sunny afternoon at First Federal Lakewood Stadium. The game was far more competitive than the score indicates – the margin was only four points late in the third quarter. The Eagle defense clamped down in the fourth, getting three turnovers that helped swell the final margin to 25. The win pushes St. Edward's record to 3-0 on the young season.
Woodson had lost its five previous contests against St. Edward by a combined score of 182-12. However, this year’s team features five Division I college recruits and a very strong passing game. The Warriors proved that early, going 65 yards on a two-play touchdown drive to take a 6-0 first quarter lead. Both plays were passes from senior Kahlil Wright to junior wide receiver Jahmari Harris. The Eagles blocked the extra point, an omen of special teams problems that would haunt Woodson during the afternoon. Senior quarterback Zach Kincaid responded on the next drive, leading the Eagles to an eight-play, 70 yard touchdown drive. He had two good runs and a pair of completions to senior Damerisse Freeman, including the seven yard scoring pass. Senior kicker Blaine Stencil made the extra point, giving the Eagles a 7-6 lead with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
Both teams settled in defensively, exchanging punts in a hard fought battle. The Warriors took the lead early in the second quarter on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Wright to senior Edward Hendrix, a Syracuse recruit. Wright connected with Harris on a successful two-point conversion pass, making the score 14-7 Woodson with 9:39 left in the first half. St. Edward fumbled on the next drive, giving up its second turnover of the afternoon. The defense held, forcing the Warriors to punt back the ball. Co-starting quarterback Garrett Dzurko then led a 77 yard touchdown drive to tie the game. Junior Jordan Castleberry had a pair of long runs on the drive, which was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by fellow senior Tylan Rice. The game was tied at 14 apiece with 4:52 left in the second quarter.
The St. Edward special teams unit then made one of the key plays of the game. They pooch-kicked on the next kickoff, enabling senior David Clark to recover the ball at Woodson’s 25 yard line. The Eagles again had possession, and grabbed momentum away from the Warriors. Rice capped a late touchdown drive that put the Eagles ahead 21-14 with less than two minutes to go in the half.
Woodson received the second half kickoff, and quickly scored on a two-minute touchdown drive that covered 80 yards. The biggest play was a 59 yard catch and run from Wright to Hendrix. Wright finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, cutting the score to 21-20. Woodson again tried a two-point conversion, but this pass was incomplete and St. Edward held the one-point lead. St. Edward responded with a Stencil field goal midway through the quarter, extending the lead to 24-20. Woodson punted on the next series, and St. Edward added another touchdown with 4:03 left in the third quarter. Rice scored on a five-yard run that pushed the lead to 31-20.
Woodson went on a long drive, moving to the St. Edward 26 yard line early in the fourth quarter. Junior Caden Kolesar then made a huge play, intercepting a pass and returning it to the Woodson 38 yard line. That turnover ignited the Eagle sideline and squashed any hope of a Warrior comeback. St. Edward would add two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score 45-20. After the game, head coach Tom Lombardo said of the strong finish: “That’s the level we want to be at”.
St. Edward will need to be at a high level next week, when they fact undefeated Cincinnati Elder at Bedford Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm next Saturday. The Eagle home game is being played in Bedford due to the LHS Marching Band Festival, which will be held the same night. St. Edward returns to FFL Stadium on Saturday September 23rd when they have a 1pm kickoff against Akron Buchtel.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1