THE PIGSKIN PROPHET: Missed offensive opportunities cost Woodlan in state loss

Senior Jack Rhoades of Woodlan breaks through a hole on a run during the Class 2A state title game against Southridge in Indianapolis. (File photo by news-sentinel.com)
Senor Justin Durkes of Woodlan looks for running room as Southridge's Justin Lammers pursues during Saturday's Class 2A state title game at Lucas Oil Stadium. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)
Woodlan senior Ah'Lan Howard scores a touchdown on a pass from Justin Durkes during the second half of Saturday's 2A state title game against Southridge in Indianapolis. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)
Amarion Hicks of Woodlan attempts to outrun a pair of Southridge defenders during Saturday's Class 2A state title game at Lucas Oil Stadium. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)
Woodlan fans cheer on their team during 2017's Class 2A state title game against Southridge at Lucas Oil Stadium. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Woodlan coach Sherwood Haydock talks to the media following his team's 15-14 loss to Southridge in Saturday's Class 2A state title game in Indianapolis. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)
Woodlan senior Ah'Lan Howard awaits the start of the postgame ceremonies following the Warriors' 15-14 loss to Southridge in the Class 2A state championship. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)
Senior Donald Guerrant of Woodlan awaits the presentation of runner-up medals following Satrurday's 15-14 loss to Southridge in the Class 2A state title game in Indianapolis. (By Margo Kelly for The News-Sentinel)

INDIANAPOLIS — Ever the observant one when it comes to details, The Pigskin Prophet noticed a troubling trend with Woodlan on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Warriors could not convert drives into points.

A missed opportunity here and there is expected, particularly against a good team like Southridge. But Woodlan did it too much in a 15-14 loss in the 2A title game.

How much you ask?

Of Woodlan’s first 10 drives of the game, nine entered Southridge territory. Of those nine, the Warriors scored on just two of them.

For those good at math, that means seven drives that crossed midfield died with no points on the board, including six that moved inside the Raiders’ 30 yard line.

“We had several chances (where) we had no points,” Woodlan coach Sherwood Haydock said. “That’s going to kill you every time. We threw the ball well and got down (the field), but then all of a sudden, we couldn’t complete passes.”

Southridge took away the run when it counted as well. Take away the 27-yard touchdown by Jack Rhoades on his first touch of the game and the stud Woodlan running back was held to 44 yards on 20 carries.

In true Haydock fashion, the Warriors pulled out all the stops offensively. On their first play of the game, Donald Guerrant threw a pass deep to Aaron Hahn after a lateral from Durkes. It barely missed, falling off of Hahn’s fingertips.

On the Warriors’ second drive, they ran a fake field goal, with Trevor Wallace running for a first down on a direct snap.

And throughout the game, Haydock refused to pack in it on fourth down. Woodlan went for it on fourth down 11(!) times, converting five.

But despite all the trickery and desperation, nothing could mask the sad fact that the Warriors failed to execute when it mattered most.

While the end result wasn’t what Woodlan hoped, it can take pride in the fact that it returned the program to the state championship for the first time in 36 years.

But the “what ifs” won’t fade away anytime soon.

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