It was one rowdy Rumble for Redwood City.
And while Sequoia, in the third quarter, dropped the hammer, Woodside replied in the fourth as though it were wielding an ax and chopping down a tree to walk off with “The Log.”
The Woodside Wildcats (2-0 overall) stunned rival Sequoia to claim “The Log” rivalry trophy Friday night by overcoming an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter at Bradley Field. Quarterback Brody Crowley aired out two long bombs, including a 85-yard strike to senor Trevor Cook with 49.6 seconds remaining to lead a 35-32 comeback victory.
“Our guys are so fast,” Crowley said, “and they always find open spaces in the middle of the field. And, man, they can catch.”
And the Woodside defense stepped up in the clutch too — quite a rebound after Sequoia overcame a 14-point halftime deficit.
Woodside led 21-7 at the half, but Sequoia reinvented itself in the third quarter — running out an entirely new backfield — to reel off 19 unanswered points. Then the Cherokees (0-2) opened the fourth quarter by waking up from a big fumble recovery to dance in from the red zone to up the lead to 32-21.
Then the Wildcats started chopping down the tree, backed by Crowley’s career night. The junior quarterback was 24-of-30 passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
“As a JV kid, he was always prone to overthrow it,” Woodside head coach Justin Andrews said. “So, we’ve worked on that touch … and he has obviously really progressed in that area.”
On the very next play from scrimmage, Woodside, starting from its own 36-yard line, sent senior Scott Morimoto on a fly route up the right side. The Wildcats caught a break on the play as Sequoia only had 10 defenders on the field. Still, a double-team on Morimoto wasn’t enough to contain the senior team captain, as he got free for a perfect pass from Crowley to close the deficit to 32-28.
The Woodside’s defense stepped up in the clutch.
It was slow goings through most of the second half after reigning Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division Defensive Player of the Year Christian Ochoa departed with a leg cramp. The 6-1, 310-pound defensive tackle returned midway through the fourth quarter to stifle two Cherokees drives.
“He is as disruptive a players as I’ve ever coached,” Andrews said. “It’s a mighty big difference with him off the field as opposed to him on the field. He was a little crampy. But he was able to dig deep and make some really important stops.”
On Sequoia’s penultimate possession, Ochoa and defensive back Peter Jeong closed a gap for a third-and-long stop to force a punt.
A great punt forced Woodside to start a drive from its own 3, but Crowley got the Wildcats moving. Josh Peterson opened with a 16-yard carry. Then Crowley completed passes of 18, 8 and 4 yards, but on the latter completion, the Woodside receive fumbled the football, allowing Sequoia to take over at midfield.
Sequoia junior running back Simon Talauati — who entered in the second half, and totaled 11 carries for 54 yards and two touchdowns — chewed off runs of 5 and 3 yards. But on third down, Woodside defensive end Adrian Jimenez stopped on off-tackle run for no gain, forcing Sequoia to punt.
“That’s really big,” Crowley said. “Our defense played their hearts out. No matter what happened, they were always together. … We played as a unit and we did it all for each other.”
Woodside took over at its own 15 and this time did not wait around. All night long, the Wildcats kept Sequoia in check with screen pass after screen pass. All the while, they were keeping the long routes up their sleeve.
So, on first down, Woodside sent Cook up the left sideline. He opened up space behind a 1-on-1 matchup and Crowley threw a strike. Cook had just one defender to outrun and kept a step on him to reach the end zone for the game-winner.
“Beautiful pass, beautiful route,” Andrews said. “We got the job done.”
At the start of the game, it was Sequoia who electrified the full-house crowd as running back Jesse Carthy broke off a big scoring run. The senior worked around the right end and fumbled the ball, but scooped it back up and darted 66 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Woodside, though, responded with three unanswered first-half TDs — a 25-yard screen from Crowley to Cook (two catches for 110 yards) with 9:40 to go in the first quarter; a 2-yard QB keeper by Crowley with 2:20 to go in the first quarter; and a interception by junior Rocky Pedrin, on a fumbled punt snap and a desperation throw, early in the second quarter.
Midway through the third quarter, though, Sequoia scored three times in just over three minutes — a 5-yard run scoring run by Talauati; a 17-yard interception return by senior corner Mckinley Desbrisay on the very next play; and a 65-yard punt return by senior Jordan Barnes.
Carthy paced Sequoia with 66 rushing yards on seven carries.
It was the emergence of Talauati — Sequoia’s third RB on the depth chart — that turned the tide though.
“There were a lot of big eyes, his included, when we were down in Newport (for last week’s season opener),” Sequoia head coach Robert Poulos said. “Now it’s, ‘What can I do?’ And he really responded in terms of that.”