Safe to say, the rivalry is back.
Between all the late hits and smack talk, Class AAA No. 15 Woodrow Wilson held on to beat Oak Hill 32-14 in a game that had all the makings of a spirited rivalry that had been dormant for 10 years.
The Flying Eagles (5-3) led 24-0 at halftime, but clearly struggled to get their spread offense moving on a muddy field that got worse as the cold night wore on. The Red Devils took advantage, riding the legs of junior quarterback Deonte Scruggs for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to make it a 10-point game.
Brent Osborne, Woodrow’s senior quarterback who has led the team all season, scored on a 9-yard run with 2:17 to play, and the Eagles avenged their 34-6 loss last year at John P. Duda Stadium. That was the first time the teams had met since 2003.
“It’s a rival game. We knew they wouldn’t roll over,” Woodrow coach John H. Lilly said. “They haven’t played very well all year. We knew they would play very well against us, and we were prepared for that.”
The game took an ugly turn over the last 18 minutes, although there were signs of chippiness throughout. Woodrow was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after its first touchdown, a 22-yard run by Meeko Harris, and the Red Devils (1-8) committed a personal foul on their first drive of the second quarter.
The bad blood became more prevalent late in the second half, and hit a crescendo when Osborne was hit in the knees after handing the ball off on first-and-10 at the Oak Hill 35-yard line with 3:16 left.
The Oak Hill player was ejected and will be ineligible when the Devils close the season next Friday at Greenbrier East.
Osborne took the ball on second-and-goal at the 9 and scored, backing across the goal line and jawing at the defenders as he crossed the goal line, drawing yet another unsportsmanlike conduct flag.
“Unfortunately, the game got a little crazy there at the end, and nobody wants that,” first-year Oak Hill coach Jason Blankenship said. “It’s part of the game. It happens. Luckily nothing too bad happened.”
“I do think that was the dirtiest play — and I’m going on record — it was a dirty play,” Lilly said. “It was dirty, uncalled for, unnecessary. The game was over for the most part. It just wasn’t needed.”
Woodrow gave the Devils possession at their 1 after Ronald Blanks fumbled on the first drive of the game, but Antwon Smith was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Harris’ touchdown and scoring runs of 2 and 8 yards made it 24-0 in what looked to be a Woodrow runaway.
Oak Hill had other plans.
While Woodrow struggled offensively in the Halloween quagmire, Scruggs became the weapon Lilly knew he would be.
After the Eagles punted on their first series of the second half, Scruggs took the ball on first down at his 45 and sprinted for a 55-yard touchdown to make it 24-7 with 7:24 left in the third.
Scruggs came up huge on two plays in consecutive drives.
Oak Hill faced a fourth-and-13 from its 31 after getting called for illegal procedure on a fake punt. The Devils lined up and Scruggs ran to the right sideline for a first down. But it turned out to be more — Scruggs squirted free, cut back left and ran 69 yards for his second touchdown. Suddenly Oak Hill was within 24-14 with 2:09 to play in the third.
The Devils’ offense woke up after a horrible first half. They didn’t get their first first down until the final minute of the second quarter, turned the ball over once and had two drives thwarted by snaps that went over Scruggs’ head.
“The second half I thought we played well,” Blankenship said. “The defense had some stops. ... The first half, we just killed ourselves. We had mistakes, we fumbled a kickoff, we had a bad snap on a punt. You take some of that stuff away, we execute on offense a little bit better, finish some drives, maybe get a couple scores, the game’s a little different in the second half.”
Scruggs finished with 32 carries for 179 yards, but threw three costly interceptions.
Osborne carried 26 times for 139 yards, but completed just 5 of 13 passes for 60 yards.
“The weather sometimes hurts our style of offense,” Lilly said. “That’s the (bad) thing about being in a spread. It just got so muddy out there that we couldn’t execute the way we wanted to. The first half the field was still in good shape. That was a large part of it.”
Woodrow will close the regular season at Hedgesville next Friday.
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OH (1-8) 0 0 14 0 — 14
WW (5-3) 10 14 0 8 — 32
WW — Safety, Antwon Smith tackled in end zone, 7:41.
WW — Meeko Harris 22 run (Harris pass from Brent Osborne), 2:52.
WW — Osborne 2 run (Trey Cole pass from Osborne), 9:01.
WW — Osborne 8 run (pass failed), 3:52.
OH — Deonte Scruggs 55 run (Dom Re kick), 7:24.
OH — Scruggs 69 run (Re kick), 2:09.
WW — Osborne 9 run (Ashaun Watlington pass from Osborne), 2:17.
RUSHING — OH: Scruggs 32-179, Smith 4-0, WW: Osborne 26-129, Harris 9-39, Ronald Blanks 3-41, Sutton Radford 2-6, Troy Lilly 1-2, Cole 3-(-5).
PASSING — OH: Scruggs 2-7-3-23., WW: Osborne 5-13-0-60.
RECEIVING — OH: Brian Hughes 1-15, Joey Re 1-8, WW: Raymond Thompson 3-53, Harris 1-5, Chris Blankenship 1-2.