Most teams would panic if they lost a two-year senior starter at quarterback, but Woodberry wasn’t worried with Lindell Stone stepping in for injured starter Hunter Etheridge in a pivotal Prep League battle.
“He’s got incredible character and integrity—the team really believes in him,” said Woodberry head coach Clint Alexander. “He really has a great football IQ. He went out there like he’d been our starter all season. He made some incredible audibles and every throw was on the money.”
Stone’s two rushing touchdowns and 12-for-18 day passing, continued success in the power run game and an incredible defensive effort proved more than enough against Collegiate Friday afternoon as Woodberry picked up a 24-14 victory to gain an early upper hand on the Prep League title race. Even the Tigers’ punter, Lester Coleman had a great day.
“We’re clicking now,” Alexander said. “Our special teams are playing so well. Lester Coleman should have had two that pinned them inside the 10. He bombed a 50 yarder with no return.”
Woodberry Forest’s defense harassed Collegiate star quarterback Wilton Speight, a Michigan commitment, by installing a defense that featured a wide defensive end spot manned by three of the Tigers’ fastest players — Christian Asher, H.T. Minor and Nathan Ingram. Usually largely offensive standouts, the trio rotated every two plays and rushed Speight throughout his incredible 68 pass attempts on the day.
“We got them in a track stance and just said ‘you’re going’,” Alexander said. “Thank God we had three, because even they were worn out near the end. It’s so hard to pass rush against guys who are good pass blockers.”
Throw in Greer Martini’s presence at right outside linebacker instead of his usual spot in the middle and Speight was simply never comfortable, completing just 28 of his 68 throws. The Cougars eventually committed two backs to pass protection and reduced the number of wideouts running routes but the damage was done as Woodberry pulled away from an exhausted Collegiate squad in the second half after leading 10-7 at the break.
Nathaniel Tyrell made an interception in the third quarter to continue his recent tear of excellent play and while Coleman was solid, he wasn’t the only special teams standout. Spencer Bibb blocked a first half punt by Speight and recovered the ball on the 4-yard line to help set up a 23-yard Michael Armstrong field goal.
While Minor was a huge help on defense, he didn’t miss much of a beat on offense either with an 83-yard performance on 20 touches. James Hewell carried the day though with 110 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown on 17 carries.
Collegiate leaned heavily on the Speight to Noah Dziedzic combination as Dziedizic had 15 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Speight threw for 289 yards on 28-for-68 passing.
Woodberry steps back out of Prep League play to take on Landon at home next Friday at 4 p.m.