Week 2: Centaurs lose heartbreaker to Windham
It was a beautiful Homecoming Day.
There was nary a cloud in the sky; the temperature, in the high 50’s, was almost perfect for a football game.
Unfortunately, while it had a storybook start for the Woodstock Academy football team’s home opener, it was not a storybook ending as Windham held on for a 20-14 win over the Centaurs in front of a large crowd at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
“It was enjoyable,” said Woodstock Academy acting head coach Connor Elliott about the day and back-and-forth battle as a whole. “I thought it was a really good football game that we, unfortunately, came out on the short end of.”
The Whippets (3-0) took the lead just a little under two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Zach Robinson-Smey, who had a 28-yard touchdown run called back by a chop-block call just eight plays before, got inside the pylon from four yards out to put the Whippets up four and a two-point conversion pass from Smey to Travis Mangual raised that to six.
Woodstock Academy looked like it was going to answer quickly.
The Centaurs drove to the Windham 14-yard line and had a 2nd-and-6. But one of the nine sacks by Windham of Woodstock Academy quarterback Teddy Richardson and an incompletion left the Centaurs with a 4th-and-11.
A pass from Richardson to Carter Morissette came up 1-yard shy.
The defense held and forced a Windham punt giving Woodstock Academy the ball at the Whippets 45-yard line. Three sacks and two false starts later, the Centaurs were back on their own 19 and an incomplete pass ended the game.
“We have to execute better in our two-minute drill but the way they were playing us, our two-minute offense isn’t built for a single receiver, man coverage where they are putting on a lot of pressure. That’s something for us to look at and hats off to them, it was a great game plan,” Elliott said.
That pressure was evident early.
Whippets’ defensive ends Asael Garcia and Jaycee Diaz gave the Woodstock Academy offensive line fits.
The Centaurs moved the ball on their first possession but it ended on fourth down when Richardson was sacked at his own 40.
Windham needed only six plays to score on a 23-yard run by Victor Mejia (20 carries, 111 yards).
The Woodstock Academy defense held tough twice, stopping Windham when the Centaurs turned over the ball on their own 22 and again on the 16-yard line.
“I’m just so proud of the effort against a team that is as physical as we’re going to see for, at least, the first half of the season. Windham should probably be a state playoff team with their experience, the way they play and how they run,” Elliott said.
It was a special teams mistake that allowed the Centaurs to take a 7-6 lead just before the half.
A fumble on a rare Woodstock Academy punt was recovered by Brandon Nagle at the Windham 33.
It took nine plays, but Richardson (7 carries, 26 yards) finally found the end zone from two yards out for a 7-6 halftime lead.
The Whippets re-took the lead early in the second half when Mejia knocked a ball loose and Diaz recovered it at the Windham 45-yard line. Six plays later, Mangual weaved his way through the Woodstock Academy defense for a 12-7 lead with 5:29 left in the third quarter.
The Centaurs roared back with an eight-play drive that took just a little over two minutes. Richardson found Lucas Theriaque near the sideline. The junior made a slick move around a Windham defensive back and crossed the goal line for a 14-yard score.
Theriaque finished with seven catches for 78 yards.
“We know we always have him and Brandon Nagle,” Elliott said. “Lucas had his number called more (Saturday) which is why he stood out more. If they were giving us looks to Brandon Nagle’s side, he would have done the same thing. Hats off to Jackson Gallagher, making his first start, I thought he played really well.”
Despite the pressure Richardson was under from Windham, the junior quarterback was still able to 13 of his 27 passes for 136 yards.
“He’s a tough kid,” Elliott said. “He got beat up (Saturday). He’s over at the trainer now. He may be kind of a stringbean but he keeps getting up if he gets knocked down. I’m really proud of that and I’m glad he’s here. He’s working his butt off just like everyone else.”