High school football: Woods Cross uses monster first quarter to blow past Box Elder
Tom Smart, Deseret News
WOODS CROSS — An interception, a gimmick, a bomb and a spin move.
With only four offensive snaps, Woods Cross prowled to a 28-0 lead with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter of its 4A tournament-opening game. From there the Wildcats cruised to a 42-14 win over Box Elder to advance to the second round.
“We had a goal to get out of the gates quickly,” Woods Cross coach Justin Spencer said. “We kind of have a method of what we’re trying to (do) and our kids responded really well. Our defense is pretty dang good and we rely on them, and that’s two weeks in a row that we’ve started off 7-0 without taking an offensive snap. That’s really good.”
In an attempt to keep the Wildcats’ high-powered offense sidelined, the Bees (6-5) wanted to employ a ball-control offense to milk the clock, but had to abandon the philosophy quickly. After six consecutive runs on his team's opening series, Box Elder quarterback Shad Watson’s first attempt through the air was snatched by Xequille Harry, who returned it 45 yards the opposite direction for a 7-0 Wildcats lead.
It was one of two interceptions for Harry, and he nearly had another pick-six, but a roughing the passer penalty negated it. The entire secondary was provided the luxury of dropping back into coverage with relentless rush from the defensive front, which was composed of Jared Clark, Tomasi Giles, Gavin Moore and Siale Mausia.
“They’re pretty dang good,” Spencer said of the defensive line. “Collectively they work so well together.”
Woods Cross limited Box Elder to 294 yards — with 133 coming against the junior varsity on the final two drives. Apart from a 64-yard touchdown from Watson to Jayk Brooks in the waning moments of the first half, the Bees had only 73 yards of production.
Following a three-and-out after the early interception, Woods Cross pulled out its bag of tricks. On his first play, Wildcats’ quarterback Clay Kidman tossed a reverse to Harry, who dropped back and hit a wide-open Sean Gallagher for a 71-yard touchdown.
“We kind of had that first play planned,” Spencer said. “We’d talked about it the last couple days. We’ve repped it a bunch of times and what a great opportunity to give it a whirl.”
Then on the next possession, again on the first play, Kidman bombed an 80-yard post to Harry for a 21-0 lead.
“Their safeties come downhill — they’re a physical team — so we thought, 'Let’s take a shot,'” Spencer said. “It paid off.”
The defense clamped down another Box Elder drive, and two plays later Braxton Gunther froze a would-be tackler in open space with a spin move and scooted in from 30 yards and a 28-0 lead. In less than two minutes of possession Woods Cross had 196 yards on four plays.
Harry finished with six receptions for 143 yards. Kidman completed 15 of 17 attempts for 209 yards. And Woods Cross tallied 396 yards of total offense.
“We were so prepared,” Spencer said. “I don’t know if it was yesterday being Halloween or not, but they wanted to get to either a Halloween celebration with their families or get on the field and play. Now we’ll flip the switch and move on to the next week.”
Woods Cross will host Salem Hills next Friday.