NEWPORT NEWS — Two years ago, Bethel blew a four-touchdown lead but escaped on a second-chance (and controversial) field goal in the final seconds. Last year, there were a combined 1,157 yards in a 67-35 shootout won by Woodside.
So what would it be this time? Overtime, naturally.
The Wolverines came back from a 13-point halftime deficit, missed a chance to win in regulation, and pulled it out in the extra session. Chris Moller's 17-yard field goal, which very well might be the shortest in Peninsula District history, capped another crazy game in this series as Woodside won 30-27 at Todd Stadium.
"The early years I was here, the games between us weren't that close," Wolverines coach Danny Dodson said. "But the last few years, they've been pretty wild."
The second half alone was one for the books. Woodside (4-2, 3-2 PD) scored on its first two possessions to take the lead and then recovered an onside kick. The Wolverines scored again to make it a 21-13 game.
But Bethel (5-1, 4-1) tied it on Sam Bennett's 3-yard run and a 2-point conversion pass. Woodside regained the lead on Donnell Lewis' 18-yard pass to Kedric Solomon, but the point-after was blocked to leave it 27-21. Bethel answered on Frank Brown's 32-yard pass to Willie Davis, but the point-after was blocked to leave it 27-27.
Woodside was in position to win in regulation, but after a false start penalty Moller was just short from 42 yards on the final play.
Then came overtime, the first of the year in the PD. Bennett (20 carries, 118 yards) ran to the 3-yard line on first down, but two plays later he fumbled. The Wolverines went conservative and ended up with a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line.
Woodside coach Danny Dodson sent in Moller, a soccer player who had never so much as kicked a football until last month.
"I wasn't nervous," he said. "I just wanted to get back out there after missing that one before."
Putting the tee down at the 7-yard line, which Dodson later said was "probably too close" to the line of scrimmage, Moller drilled it.
"The only hard part being that close is getting it over the line," he said. "That's hard, so I just tried to give it a good lift. Once I did that, it went through."
Dodson had confidence.
"He hits them all the time," he said. "He just hadn't done it in a game-winning situation before."
The day couldn't have started much worse for Woodside as Said Taylor returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. It was 13-0 at halftime, and it could have been worse.
Dodson said he didn't say anything special in the locker room.
"I just reminded them two years ago we were down 35-7 (to Bethel) and we came back," he said. "We felt like we could do it. It was just a matter of getting it done."
The catalyst was Lewis, who rushed for 94 yards and passed for 75 in the second half. And Solomon, who caught two touchdown passes, both on leaping receptions in the back of the end zone.
"We just weren't ready to play in the first half," Lewis said. "But we woke up."
WOODSIDE 30, BETHEL 27
Bethel;13;0;0;14;0 – 27
Woodside;0;0;21;6;3 – 30
Bet—Taylor 90 kickoff return (Baker kick), 11:47
Bet—C. Davis 7 run (kick failed), 6:32.
Woo—Solomon 15 pass from Lewis (Moller kick), 9:44.
Woo—Lewis 16 run (Moller kick), 4:51.
Woo—Tucker 5 run (Moller kick), 1:47.
Bet—Bennett 3 run (Goodwin pass from Brown), 11:54.
Woo—Solomon 18 pass from Lewis (kick blocked), 7:26.
Bet—W. Davis 32 pass from Brown (kick failed), 6:44.
Woo—Moller FG 17.