Greenwood – A humid and hazy early October night set the stage for an upset victory for the Woodbridge Blue Raiders on Homecoming.
Two first quarter defensive scores gave the Blue Raiders an early lead and a 24-8 victory over the number two ranked Laurel Bulldogs in a Class AA District 3 game.
On the first play of the game the Blue Raiders Kam’Ren Johnson penetrated the Laurel offensive line, batted down a pitch attempt from quarterback Koby Shockley intended for Shakai Parker and then scooped up the ball racing to the endzone for a defensive touchdown. Traci Johnson converted the run as the Blue Raiders jumped out to an 8-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game.
Later in the first quarter Laurel had a handoff exchange fall to the ground and Johnson was there again for his second scoop and score of the game this time a 14 yard fumble return giving Woodbridge a 16-0 lead.
“Coach told us in a game against a tough team to be ready to get punched in the mouth, we punched first. I saw the ball and reached out hit it and it bounced right up to me,” Kam’Den Johnson said.
While the field conditions were good following a late afternoon rain the offensive output of both teams was uncharacteristically sloppy. Both teams known for strong run offenses combined for a mere 71 yards of total offense. They also combined for just six first downs compared to five turnovers.
“Last they beat us on Rocket Toss, so we put in what we call a bump. When the back went in deep motion we bump everybody down on the line so basically we are running with the pulling tackle. It worked tremendously, it puts one extra guy over there that they couldn’t block,” Woodbridge head coach Marvin Dooley said.
The Blue Raiders held on to the 16-0 lead going into a long Homecoming halftime. On the opening drive of the third quarter Woodbridge drove 61 yards on 13 carries chewing up seven and half minutes off the clock. Traci Johnson carried the ball all but one play, capping off the scoring drive with a three yard touchdown run. He added the conversion run and Woodbridge stretched their lead to 24-0.
“I told the team at halftime that the first drive of the second half could be a game ender. Laurel is like us, they are not a big passing team so I felt being up 24 points would be good for us,” Dooley said.
Laurel answered on the ensuing drive marching 53 yards with Shockley scoring a one yard touchdown run on a fourth and goal. Shockley converted the run, cutting Woodbridge’s lead to 24-8.
Following a Woodbridge punt Laurel drove to the Blue Raiders 18 yard line with three minutes left in the game. Shockley’s fourth down pass to Xavier Limehouse was incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.
“Kam’Ren Johnson was a running back and linebacker at the beginning of the season, we made the decision to move him to the defensive line and to his credit he told me yes sir. He was dynamite all night long tonight,” Dooley said.
Laurel fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in District 3. The Bulldogs will host long-time rival Seaford next week in a non-district game. Woodbridge improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the District. They will have a short week and host district foe Milford on Thursday night.
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