The Woodstock defense held the Longhorns to less than 70 yards of total offense and controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game to take a 17-0 win Friday at the Wolverine Den.
"That is a quality, quality football team over there," said Kell coach Derek Cook. "We have to go back to work. I told the kids that if they didn't want to come to work on Monday, then they didn't need to show up."
"This is big," said Woodstock coach Mike O'Brien. "We tried to come into this year with different things to keep the excitement from last year's team alive. We played hard and got that first win, and now we have the students behind us and the fans excited and it is a good thing."
With an offense that was handing the mantle off to junior Kevin Bolak from Taylor Trotter, O'Brien knew that his defense would have to give his offense time to grow. The offense shouldn't consider itself rushed to grow up in a hurry after a dominating defensive performance against Kell.
The spread attack for the Longhorns sorely lacked its big-play receivers from last year, and the Wolverines dominated the line of scrimmage. Kell had just two first downs the entire game, and the passing attack never got on track with the Longhorns gaining just 26 yards through the air.
"You have to give them credit," said Cook. "That is a great Woodstock defense over there. Their defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage. I thought that our defense played well, but Woodstock took control of the line when we had the ball."
If there was a bright spot for the Longhorns, it was on defense. Woodstock's offense never managed a long drive on Kell, and the Wolverines were held to less than 150 yards of total offense.
O'Brien calls this perhaps the best defense that he has fielded since coming to Woodstock.
"We had a lot of confidence and knew that this defense could be a good one if you get kids that make the play," said O'Brien. "The way both defenses were playing early, you were just sort of waiting for someone to make a mistake."
Fortunately for Woodstock, Kell made the mistakes and the Wolverines were ready to take advantage.
A 26-yard punt return by Tanner Skogen midway through the second quarter set up a 24-yard field goal from Brad Sullivan, and it looked at times as if that would be the final score. Woodstock's longest drive of the night managed just 32 yards, but it went for a score with Bolak diving over from the 1. The big play on the scoring series came when Bolak hit Skogen in the flat for an 18-yard completion which was the longest of the night.
Woodstock would score again in the fourth when a bad snap on a punt gave the Wolverines the ball at the Longhorn 7. Three plays later, Skogen scored from five yards out.
"The offense didn't play a great game, but I thought (Bolak) managed the game very well," O'Brien said. "He missed a few throws, but those will come. He was a little nervous, but he did a fine job."
Besides, the offense didn't have to be stellar. The 17 points were more than enough with the way the Wolverine defense was playing. Kell crossed midfield just once in the second half and never mounted an offensive threat after missing a field goal early in the second quarter.