The Wooddale Cardinals traveled to Melrose in a key Region 8 3A District game. The winner of the game would have a major advantage in claiming the District Championship. Melrose entered the game with a 2-0 record in district play, while Wooddale had a 1-0 record.
In the end, Wooddale handed first-year Melrose coach Cedric Wilson his first district loss with a 13-0 win, spoiling homecoming for the Golden Wildcats.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Wooddale coach Jerome Griffin. “Coming into a hostile environment, they play hard over here. They have a young team, but they brought everything they had.”
The game was a defensive battle. The Cardinals scored both times as the half was ending. The first score occurred with only eight seconds left in the first half when Cardinal quarterback John Jones found Rodney Bridges streaking into the end zone from 16 yards out to take the early lead (7-0).
“Our defense played lights out,” Griffin said. “They held us and kept us in the game.”
The Cardinals scored with 47 seconds left to put the game out of reach with a 58-yard catch and run touchdown from Jones to Kylan Grant (13-0). Jones completed 10 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown.
The game got off to a very sloppy start with the Cardinals committing several pre-snap penalties. Wooddale had 81 penalty yards for the game. They were flagged 11 times in the game for the Cardinals.
“We just never get settled in,” Griffin said. “John Jones has been great. He leads by example. It is good to have a three-year starter back there. He controls the game and everyone’s movement. He can run and throw. He is just smart.”
The defense of the Cardinals was stellar throughout.
Wooddale allowed just seven rushing yards and 100 passing yards in the game. Terenski Rodgers had two interceptions and nearly caught third. The defense is led by middle linebacker Jamarious Davis. At 6’2″, the 220-lb Davis is quick on his feet and very aggressive, Griffin said. He averages six solo tackles a game.
The Melrose defense kept their team within reach all game. The Golden Wildcats gave up 103 yards on the two scoring drives and only 90 yards the rest of the game. Two plays were the difference in the game.
“Hats off to coach Griffin and his ball club,” Wilson said. “They came into Orange Mound and defeated us.They are the defending champions and respectfully so. They have a great ball club and we are still building.”
Wilson said his team needs to become more disciplined to improve.
“We have got to go back to the drawing board, but more importantly we have to do right in the school building,” he said. “We have to be a little more disciplined in what we are asking. Wooddale is a heck of a ball club. We just fell a little short.”
Next up for the Wooddale Cardinals (6-1, 2-0) will be the Sheffield Knights. The Knights will be the homecoming opponent for the Cardinals on Thursday Oct. 10 at Kirby Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Melrose (4-3,2-1) will look to get back on track when they visit King Prep on Thursday October 10 at 7 p.m.