Football: Straight-ahead approach works for Woodland Park

By: Justin Shaw the gazette
September 13, 2013 Updated: September 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Woodland Park had a bad 51 seconds. Then it had a great 33 seconds en route to dominating Harrison in a 35-14 road victory Friday in a 3A football contest.

In a battle of the Panthers, Woodland Park (2-1) gashed the Harrison defense for 319 rushing yards, led by running back Josh Smith's 120 yards and three touchdowns.

"We're just a straight-up, smash mouth offense," Smith said. "We have a rivalry with Harrison and every time we play them it's a fight. We all came prepared tonight and really took it to them."

After Smith capped a 60-yard touchdown drive with a 9-yard run on the game's first possession, Harrison (0-3) would quickly answer.

More specifically, Nick Jacquez would answer.

The sophomore returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 7-6 lead.

Just 51 seconds later, Jacquez, who also plays cornerback, intercepted a Matt Cox pass and returned it 42 yards to give Harrison a 14-6 lead just five minutes into the game.

"It felt good to score those two touchdowns and I had some adrenaline pumping, but we couldn't do much on offense and their line kept busting through to stop us," Jacquez said. "Our defensive line couldn't really bust through their offensive line and it was just hard to stop the run."

Woodland Park would get its own scoring spurt to take the lead for good shortly after Jacquez's scoring spree.

Smith would add another touchdown, finishing off an 82-yard drive with a 6-yard run.

On Harrison's next possession, cornerback Jamie Ensley came through with a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Following a successful 2-point conversion, Woodland Park led 20-14.

"It was a really big momentum changer," Ensley said of his defensive touchdown. "I think our defense did a great job tonight, especially stopping them in the red zone."

After Harrison fumbled the next kickoff at its own 31, Woodland Park was quick to take advantage. Cox ran a bootleg in from 2 yards out and Smith picked up the 2-pointer to make it 28-14.

It was 16 points in 33 seconds.

"We had a good game plan and our kids are playing really hard," Woodland Park coach Joe Roskam. "To not give up any points on defense to the kind of athletes Harrison has makes me happy. On offense we have four guys who run hard and go downhill. They can't juke anybody, but they run hard and hit their gaps."

The second half would feature miscues by both teams. Harrison's offense sputtered, twice failing to score any points inside the Woodland Park 20-yard line.

Smith would add his third scoring run toward the end of the third quarter to cap an 86-yard drive and make the score 35-14.

"This game was about getting control with our rushing and then being able to do what we wanted," Smith said. "They tried to switch up their defensive line and scheme but we just kept going at them."

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