Lone Star Gridiron

The Woodlands fights past Kingwood

Glenn McCarthy

photo: Glenn McCarthy

Kingwood Didn't Roll Over for the Highlanders

Humble-  Senior cornerback Mitchell Bell intercepted Dawson Trudell on the second to last play of the night wrapping up the district championship for The Woodlands Highlanders over the Humble Kingwood Mustangs, 21-18.  Both teams are playoff bound.  The Woodlands and coach Mark Schmid finish the season at 9-1 and 6-0 in claiming the District 16-6A trophy.  The Woodlands will face Klein Oak next week in the 1st round of the playoffs at Conroe's Woodforest Bank Stadium.

Coach Schmid had this to say about their upcoming opponent, “They got after us last year, we turned the ball over 7 times and they came away with the win.  Our kids are excited about the matchup, you know most of our kids were there last year.”  Kingwood (6-4, 4-2) will face the Spring Westfield Mustangs at Turner Stadium Friday the 13th at 7:00

Schmid said this about the district championship, “It’s wonderful, its wonderful, you know when you graduate kids and have new kids who weren't varsity players step up and make plays and you got kids in new roles, specifically our defense, you know our defensive front was decimated by graduation and you don't know what you are gonna get, and these kids step up from the JV level and turn out to be an outstanding unit.  To see that happen and be able to win all your games in district and be undefeated district champs says a lot about the kids and the work they put in.”

Kingwood came out looking for a fight to start the game.  The Highlanders who won despite the slow start and four costly turnovers, were lethargic at first.  Coach Schmid and his staff continued to tweak things and it showed with the outcome of the contest.

On the opening drive, the Mustangs scored.  It was an 11 play, 81 yard drive highlighted by quarterback Dawson Trudell and running back Griffin Lay.  On 4th and goal at the one, Lay snuck in for a touchdown and the 7-0 lead for North Shore. The drive took 4 minutes and 20 seconds and was aided by a big 3rd and 10 twenty-nine yard run by Trudell from his quarterback spot.

The Woodlands answered early in the 2nd quarter with 10:04 remaining.  Senior starting quarterback Craig Heiser filling in for Coach Schmid's son Eric Schmid, who dislocated his left elbow a few games earlier, had a nice 38 yard throw on 3rd and 8 down to the Mustang 13.  He then completed a sharp 17 yard slant on 3rd and 14 to a diving Hunter Moore. Moore almost broke the goal line on his superb catch but came up inches short.  Junior running back Carlos Ramos then finished it off from 1 yard out to tie the game 7-7.

Kingwood then put together a 17 play, 6 minute, 36 second drive of their own.  The tough Woodlands defense, who’ve been stingy all season long, stiffened in the red zone forcing a Diego Garcia field goal with 1 second remaining until the break; 10-7 Kingwood.

To open the second half the first of Coach Schmid's tweaks came to fruition.  He inserted safety Antoine Wingfield Jr., the son of Ohio State great, in as a kick returner for the first time this season.  He received the kickoff at the 8 yard line then made some Mustangs miss around the 20, cut back to the left side of the field and raced past the whole Kingwood team for a 92 yard touchdown.  The dramatic play gave the Highlanders their first lead of the game, 14-10.  Coach Schmid later said this about that decision, “We were looking for a spark, and we felt like they had been kicking it to the left and we felt like if we lined him up to the left they may kick it to him.  That's the great thing about having a guy like Antoine, he can do that.”

After the "spark," The Woodlands never relinquished the lead.  It was not a cake walk, as they had to have their defense bail them out several times.

Coach Schmid made his second adjustment work too.  He elected to replace Heiser midway through a drive in the 3rd quarter with senior Harry Woodberry.   At 1st and 10 on the Mustang 36, Ramos carried twice for 15 yards (9 and 6) down to the 21.  Then, Woodberry found Reed Barber with 4:45 remaining in the third for the 21 yard score. The Highlanders now appeared to be in control 21-10.

QB Harry Woodberry

QB Harry Woodberry

Kingwood was not ready to roll over.  Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Griffin made two excellent plays including a 5 yard tackle for loss (TFL) and Woodberry missed Hunter Moore on third down, forcing a punt from their own 28.  The Woodlands snap sailed long and punter Reed Barber elected to run with it rather than letting it bounce into the end zone for a safety.  His tackle set Kingwood up  1st and goal at the 8.

Fullback Matt Dean carried for six yards on 2nd and goal after Griffin Lay was stuffed for no gain .  Damon Young got 1 hard-fought yard off the right side setting up a crucial 4th and goal.  Not only did Trudell get the touchdown but he got the 2 point conversion after on a beautifully called play.  He bootlegged to the left on a nice wide arc easing into the end zone.  Kingwood would not be going quietly as they tightened the score to 21-18.

Trudell and Kingwood still had two more shots left in them.  The Woodlands D stepped up both times much like they have all year.  The first was stymied on 4th and 4 at their own 34 when Connor Binney made a huge TFL of 4 yards on Eric Hammersmith.  Then Woodberry fired incomplete on a 4th down for the Woodlands and their own turnover on downs with under a minute remaining.

That's when on 2nd and 4 from their own 34 Trudell fired into double coverage and Mitchell Bell ended the game with an interception. Woodberry only needed to snap the ball once as time expired and The Woodlands came survived that Kingwood later charge.

The winning quarterback said this about the win and his relief of Heiser, They just told me I was going in, I was ready, I’m always ready.  I was ready to help my team, undefeated district champions”, and not needing a question looking off into the distance adding, “its our trophy.”

Kingwood rushed for 163 yards and Trudell was 7-22 and 58 yards and an interception, they had 13 first downs. Kingwood missed having their star player, running back/safety Sewo Olonilua (a TCU pledge) out with a shoulder injury and just returned Dawson Trudell from a back injury suffered  in week four versus Aldine Eisenhower.  Olonilua may return for the 2nd week of the playoff if Kingwood is still alive.

The Woodlands carried the ball 25 times for only 61 yards.  Heiser was 8-15 for 119 yards, 1 interception and a touchdown while Woodberry went 5-8 for 59 yards and a touchdown. The Woodlands fumbled 3 times.

by Glenn McCarthy

Players of the Game- return man Antoine Wingfield Jr. and cornerback Mitchell Bell

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Kingwood 7 3 0 8  - 18
The Woodlands 0 7 14 0  - 21

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