The first soccer game of a new season is never easy. Players line up in the wrong place, the right staff is not on the field, and penalties are usually frequent.
All of this was seen when Woodside traveled to South City on Friday night to take on the Warriors. While both teams had their share of fighting, the Wildcats proved much further in development than the Warriors when Woodside scored a 40-0 win over South City.
“We came out and had a lot of fun,” said Woodside head coach Justin Andrews. “It took a long time. Everything we had to endure. It feels good.”
Woodside definitely had fun as a lot of Wildcats contributed to the win. Eight players carried the ball and four receivers had catches from two different quarterbacks.
The two signal callers – Ben Shepard and Thomas Ashworth – together made 5 of 7 passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Shepard met with Oliver Franco for a 15-yard hit for the first result of the season. Shepard later found Ian Gould for a 24 yard score.
Ashworth hit Rhett Pedrin for a 30-yard touchdown pass that put the Wildcats 20-0 ahead at the end of the first quarter.
Kyle Knudson stepped up the Wildcats’ ground attack, finishing it with 54 yards and a 25-yard touchdown on nine runs. Franco had a carry for 53 yards, but that run ended with a fumble near the goal line that was salvaged for touchback by South City in the end zone.
Woodside finished with a 221 yd pedestrian attack, but it was more than enough to get the win.
“We don’t have a lot of depth,” said Andrews. “But we have a lot of people who feel comfortable when they let our things go.”
This “stuff” is a modification of the single wing – modified to look what most would call “the wildcat” today. But in contrast to the simple direct snapping of the lonely man in the backfield, Woodside set up two backs side by side, one of which took over the direct snapping.
“Last year was the first year of putti [this offense] together, ”said Andrews. “It is a crime that involves everyone.”
The Wildcats offensive got off to a rocky start. They fumbled the snapshot on their first game, and later on their first drive, they fumbled with the ball but retrieved it to keep the drive alive.
South City took some pressure on Shepard, but in fourth and tenth places on the Warriors’ 15-yard line, Shepard threaded the needle between two South City defenders to find Franco on a slant for a 15-yard touchdown, to place the Wildcats up to 6-0.
It appeared South City had responded when Christopher Garcia Magalion took the following kick-off and snaked to an 88-yard kick-off return for a touchdown.
But it was picked up on a block in the background on the Woodside 20-yard line. The Warriors, starting with the Wildcats ’30, moved backwards and just to put an exclamation mark on the ride, South City’s punt attempt was blocked by Ben Giovannetti.
Woodside immediately took advantage when Zachary Scher handoffed a counterattack and Emanuel Aguilera sealed the edge with a pancake block. Scher went untouched in the end zone to score a 25 yard touchdown. Knudson’s 2-point run gave Woodside a 14-0 lead with 3:09 left in the first quarter.
It only took the Wildcats one game to find wage debris the next time they had possession after a playoff in South City. This time it was Ashworth and Pedrin at the 30-yard connection for a 20-0 lead.
After the Warriors flipped the ball with their own 35, the Wildcats completed a seven-game drive with a 2-yard shear touchdown run to make it 28-0. Shepard and Gould teamed up on the next Woodside ride to give the Wildcats a 34-0 lead at halftime.
Knudson scored a 40-0 lead with 3:23 in the third quarter in a 15-yard run that night.
Elijah Avegalio of South City, right, chases after Woodside Oliver Franco and strips the ball.
While the Woodside Offensive didn’t have much of a problem defending South City, the Warriors couldn’t muster much against the Wildcats. Woodside kept South City just 64 yards on offense – and only 7 yards in the second half.
However, Elijah Avegalio showed some flashes of brilliance. He led the team by 46 yards over 14 runs, but he made the game of the night on defense as he chased Woodside’s Franco and stripped the ball at the 5-yard line.
“We learned a lot about our team in combat,” said South City head coach Dion Evans. “You will have to mature.”