Woodland gridders overwhelm Kennedy

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Woodland running back Jack DeBiase (10) ran all over the Eagles, rushing for 158 yards and four touchdowns.
Woodland running back Jack DeBiase (10) ran all over the Eagles, rushing for 158 yards and four touchdowns.

WATERBURY — The Woodland gridiron gang now sports a 2-0 record after an easy win over Kennedy on Saturday, a mark which most valley football prognosticators thought they would have after week two. But the manner in which they have racked up those wins—scoring 95 points, including the 44-0 pasting of the Eagles at Municipal Stadium—has now drawn the eyes of the Naugatuck Valley League as the Hawks head into a showdown with undefeated Wolcott.

For the second week in a row, the Black and Gold relied heavily on junior tailback Jack DeBiase, and he rewarded head coach Tim Shea and offensive coordinator Tim Phipps for calling his No. 10, springing for 165 yards and four touchdowns in only three quarters’ worth of carries.

DeBiase accounted for all three of Woodland’s scores in the first half, including a 25-yard scamper on the opening drive of the game following a pair of long completions between senior quarterback Steve Petracca and senior wide receiver Colin Grommisch.

After a three-and-out by the Eagles, DeBiase picked up where he left off, taking advantage of great field position at the Kennedy 37 and scoring on a 6-yard plunge up the middle. Senior Brandon Fowler hooked up with Grommisch for a two-point conversion to quickly open a 15-0 gap.

The Hawks squandered another scoring chance with about two minutes to go in the half, when Petracca was intercepted by Travis Johnson at the Kennedy 3. But Woodland’s stout defense quickly regained the ball at the Eagles’ 33-yard line, allowing Petracca and company to engineer a smooth, 56-second drive that ended on a 3-yard touchdown run by DeBiase. Senior wingback Tyler Slapikas caught the conversion pass by Fowler to send his team to the locker room with a 23-0 lead.

While the Woodland defense allowed a few sustained drives in the first half, the unit completely shut down the Kennedy offense after the break, forcing two three-and-outs, a turnover on downs, and a fumble, which was recovered by senior Mike Diurno. The stingy performance gave the Black and Gold’s O no worse field position than Kennedy’s 37, which the Hawks took advantage of three times—a 28-yard hookup between Petracca and senior wideout Chris Savvidou, an 11-yard dash by Slapikas, and an 8-yard gallop by DeBiase—sealing a 44-0 obliteration of the team that denied the Hawks the NVL Copper crown last season.

Now, all eyes focus on Friday’s home opener, when Woodland hosts Wolcott in what is considered to be the first real test of the season for both squads. Wolcott, also 2-0 after a 46-19 win over Killingly and a 38-20 victory over Wilby, is one of the favorites to win the NVL Brass Division and beat the Hawks for the first time ever last year in a 29-21 game on its home turf. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.