Tigers trounce Panthers 48-7, move on to quarterfinals

Woodlake defeats the Corcoran Panthers in first half drubbing, will remain at home to play the Lindsay Cardinals

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

WOODLAKE – The Woodlake Tigers went 9-1 in the regular season, went undefeated in the East Sequoia League to snatch it away from the Strathmore Spartans and now they are on a warpath to a valley championship.

On Friday night, Nov. 2, the Tigers welcomed the Corcoran Panthers to town to square off in the opening round of the Division V playoffs. Woodlake had played them just a month ago and sent them packing with a 42-6 loss. Friday’s showing was not much different.

According to head coach Jeff Johnson, his coaching staff was poised to keep the players focused while preparing for a team they had already played and beat once.

“Coaches and I talked about that last week because we were concerned about that. But we actually had one of our best weeks of practice. We’ve go some seniors on this team that are not going to let guys not compete,” Johnson said.

Clearly their practice played out in spades on the field. Woodlake scored 42 points in the first half with their first score coming on a commanding 80-yard run from Victor Rojas. Aside from the length of the run, the score was more significant because it was an answer to a Corcoran touchdown off a Damian Hernandez interception. But Rojas’ score truly kicked things off for the Tigers.

Their following scores were made with ease and amazement. Woodlake took the lead when Hernandez gave wide receiver Robby Stevenson a chance at a jump ball. Stevenson managed to outjump the corner for a touchdown catch. Woodlake’s defense gave their offense even more opportunities when they picked off Corcoran quarterback Herman Luna and returned it to the one yard line.

One play later and Hernandez found Bryan Cuevas on a fade route in the corner of the endzone. Cuevas scored again in the second quarter after Hector Magana took the ball from the Panthers with a one-handed interception. In the red zone Cuevas turned the turnover into points when he broke into the goal line on a 14-yard scamper. Not to be outdone, Rojas finished off the first half flurry of scores when he gashed the defense for a huge touchdown run.

By the time the halftime whistle blew the Panthers were long out of the game

While the box score tells its own story Johnson says there is plenty the Tigers could have done better.

“We passed the ball poorly…our timing was off. You have to give credit to Corcoran they did a good job. It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. I think on special teams we gave them a few too many yards,” Johnson said.

In Madera the Lindsay Cardinals upset the Liberty Hawks in their Division V opening round 37-34 with a last second field goal. And now they will line up against the Tigers in the jungle this Friday night. The first time the two teams met in September the Tigers were not shy about putting points on the board as Woodlake served them a 49-7 loss. Now Lindsay hopes to drop some revenge in this match up slated for 7 p.m.

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