Hawks flex their muscle on Thanksgiving eve
SEYMOUR — Matt Zaccagnini rushed for 211 yards and a touchdown, three other Woodland players scored, and the Hawks held Seymour to just 130 yards in a dominating, 28-7 win over the Wildcats in the annual Thanksgiving eve game last Wednesday night at DeBarber Field.
Zaccagnini led the charge, but everybody got in on the party. Anthony Scirpo and Kyle McClintick each picked up a touchdown and an interception. Tanner Kingsley rushed for a score and threw another. The front seven combined to stomp out the Wildcats’ offense at—and often behind—the line of scrimmage.
Woodland outgained Seymour, 403-130, including 258-37 in the first half.
“We came out and tackled,” Zaccagnini said. “Through the week, we were thinking about the rivalry, about how Seymour talks about us and we talk about Seymour. When it comes down to it, you just have to play football.”
The Hawks (6-4) held Seymour (5-5) to 5 yards on their first two defensive series while finding the end zone in response to both stops.
Scirpo’s 45-yard run on an end-around set up a perfectly dropped fade by Kingsley to McClintick from 32 yards out for the game’s first score.
On Seymour’s ensuing drive, Dave Alves sacked Luke Grabowski for a 9-yard loss and forced a punt. It was one of five Woodland sacks on the night.
“We have a shut-down defense,” Alves said. “Everybody went their hardest knowing it was our last game. We left it out there.”
Zaccagnini wasted little time getting the Hawks back in the red zone by breaking a 49-yard run through five tackles to the Seymour 11. Three plays later, Scirpo took another end-around into the end zone from 8 yards out for a 14-0 Woodland lead.
“We wanted to come out hard,” Scirpo said. “I have to credit the linemen. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to run. Our front line did a hell of a job. It was an all-around good effort by the team.”
The Hawks came up with another stop when McClintick intercepted Grabowski at the Woodland 15. After a 79-yard run by Zaccagnini brought the Hawks into the red zone, Kingsley snuck in on a fourth-and-goal at the 2 for a 21-0 advantage, which stood until the half.
Woodland coach Tim Shea saw a strong effort from the offensive line, which is comprised of four seniors.
“We put it on them,” Shea said. “They’re our senior leaders up front. We told them, you’re what’s going to make us go. To go out on top is a great feeling for these kids.”
Zaccagnini had 152 of his 211 yards in the first half, in part due to Seymour’s stronger defense following the break. After a scoreless third quarter, the Wildcats cracked the scoreboard on a 14-yard pass from Grabowski to Jon Wilson to make it 21-7.
But after the teams traded defensive stands, Zaccagnini finally put the game out of reach with his 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
“That’s the type of running back I am,” said Zaccagnini, who finished with 1,471 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. “I’m not that shifty guy. I always look for the big hit. I like contact. I don’t really feel it during the game. Those two big runs, I was running for my life. At the end, I finally got it in. It felt good.”
Shea said he was especially proud of Woodland’s senior class, with which he feels a special connection.
“This is my first senior class as a coach, so I’m really happy for them,” Shea said of the seniors, which are the first in school history to beat Seymour three times. “We wanted to go out on a good note and I think we did.”