WOODS CROSS -- The first week of Region 6 play was not kind to the Woods Cross Wildcats.
After an absolute dismantling at the hands of the East Leopards, Woods Cross started slow again in its homecoming game against the Clearfield Falcons.
However, a late score in the first half gave the Wildcats the necessary momentum as they climbed past the Falcons 20-0.
"We had a game plan for Clearfield defensively, and they came out and changed the game," Woods Cross coach Justin Spencer said. "It took us a long time to try to figure it out. It became a muscle game and we came out on top."
Neither team was able to consistently move the ball in the first quarter as both teams rushed the ball extensively, allowing both Clearfield and Woods Cross' defenses to load the box comfortably with at least eight defenders.
However, it appeared the Falcons would gain the upper hand after a Woods Cross fake punt was blown up and recovered by Clearfield at the 50-yard line.
The Falcons were unable to take advantage of the play, but a stopped Clearfield fake punt gave Woods Cross a well-needed shot in the arm, as Kelly Thorpe had an open lane to pick up the first down but was blown up by Mason Newton to give the Wildcats the ball.
Both teams again traded blows until the Wildcats got the ball at their own 20 yard line, with a little over a minute to go. Quarterback Clay Kidman hit Sean Gallagher in stride on the sideline for a 36-yard pass to move the ball into Clearfield territory, and the pair would connect on a 15-yard touchdown with twenty seconds before halftime that gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, both teams again played a game of cat and mouse until Woods Cross made their move towards the end of the quarter. Starting a drive inside their own 10 yard line, senior running back Lawrence Brown put the Wildcats on his shoulders and moved Woods Cross methodically down the field. Notable carries on the drive included a 32-yard Brown carry on a sweep to the left and 9-yard score on a draw play that gave Woods Cross a 13-0 lead.
The Wildcats almost had a three-score lead but a bizarre play took place. During the play, Kidman hit Gallagher for what should have been a 54-yard touchdown but as Gallagher went inside the 5-yd line, he was stripped by Rafe Hale. Hale recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback to end the third quarter.
The mishap mattered little though to Woods Cross, as Braxton Gunther dodged tackler after tackler for a 55-yard Wildcat touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Despite the late scores, Clearfield coach Will Hawes was upbeat about his defensive performance.
"The defense as a whole played hard," Hawes said. "We've got quite a few youngsters out there and we've just got to get them going in the right direction. We've got to generate some offense. We've got to get guys who are going to do their assignments for four quarters."