If Woodland’s offensive line woes continued this week, Wyatt Harsh proved just how an athletic quarterback can disguise such a unit’s shortcomings.
Thanks to a combination of short passes, adept pocket awareness, timely scrambles and one clutch downfield throw late in the fourth quarter, the senior dazzled the home crowd when it mattered most.
With the score tied at 28 with under two minutes left, Harsh weaved in-and-out of a mob at the line-of-scrimmage to find Aaron Shaw wide open downfield for a 28-yard gain which set up running back Tyler Flanagan’s third score to give Woodland a thrilling come-from-behind rivalry win.
“Don’t over throw him,” Harsh recalled of his thoughts as he improvised to connect with Shaw for the first time this season. “On those plays you don’t know if he’ll go or stop, so it’s always better to think short there.”
Harsh ended the first half scorching hot, hitting on 13 of 15 passes for 168 yards and two scores-much of the damage coming in the 21 point second quarter.
When La Center needed a scoring drive or a brief Woodland drive, head coach John Lambert relied on his senior-laden linemen on both sides to take over during stretches. Senior nose guard Jack Hiller sacked Wyatt Harsh on a 3rd and long to make sure Woodland would not answer after the Wildcats tied the game at 21.
But on crucial downs, Woodland senior defensive lineman Jacob Flanagan, who finished with three sacks, proved to be just a bit more consistently chaotic throughout the second half. He got to La Center quarterback Hayden Willamson twice in the fourth quarter, including a drive-stopping sack that soon led to the Beavers’ winning score.
“When you get that (close to the quarterback) it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings,” Jacob Flanagan said of his ability to get to the quarterback. “It could be a simple hand that gets you. Awareness in the mess is something you got to have. Begins in practice with reps and it pays off in the game.”
WOODLAND 35, LA CENTER 28
La Center 7 7 7 7–28
Woodland 0 21 0 14–35
LC–Colton Dolezal 5 run (Sean Fox kick)
W–Tyler Flanagan 2 run (Isaac Hall kick)
W–Alex Bishop 6 pass from Harsh (Hall kick)
LC–Dolezal 1 run (Fox kick)
W–Bishop 20 pass from Harsh (Hall kick)
LC–Bryce Campbell 4 run (Fox kick)
LC–Jackson Leslie 1 pass from Hayden Williamson (Fox kick)
W–Flanagan 4 run (Hall kick)
W–Flanagan 3 run (Hall kick)
RUSHING — LaCenter: Campbell 25-98, Wyatt Dodson 17-88, Williamson 9-1, Dolezal 7-17, Evan Honore 2-27, Woodland: Flanagan 21-86, Harsh 8-17
PASSING — La Center: Williamson 12-16-0-104, Woodland: Harsh 19-28-1-267
RECEIVING — La Center: Leslie 5-52, Honore 5-42, Tom Lambert 1-13, Nathan Pruitt 1-7, Woodland: Bishop 7-92, Tristin Harris 3-50, T. Flanagan 4-38, Wyatt Wooden 3-34, Aaron Shaw 1-28, Christian Yager 1-25