Woodson’s field goal ices Woodbridge


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DUMFRIES In Brandon Woodson’s first-ever game of organized football, he delivered the winning points.

The senior, whose previous athletic claim to fame was as a stopper for the Potomac varsity soccer team, sent the homestanding Panthers to a 23-22 triumph Thursday night over Woodbridge in both teams’ season openers. His 24-yard field goal with 1:18 left was the difference in a back-and-forth thriller.

“This is my first year, first game,” said the 6-foot-1, 150-pound Woodson, who was talked into going out for football by his parents, Carolyn and Randy. “I’m a soccer player.

“I was nervous [before the game-winning kick] because I had all my friends here and I knew I’d hear about it. I’ve always watched college football and NFL games, but I had never played, ever, except in the backyard.”

Potomac’s go-ahead drive began at the Woodbridge 45-yard-line and took six plays and 38 yards. A 29-yard pass from Wade Green to Carlton Hughes was the key play, allowing coach Ben Stutler to run plays toward the middle of the field to set up Woodson for the winner.

After holding a two-point halftime lead, Woodbridge had burst out to a 22-14 advantage on James Terry’s 46-yard run with 8:29 left in the third quarter. Potomac responded with a touchdown drive on its first possession of the half, capped by Hughes’ 1-yard run on third down. The Panthers, though, failed on a two-point conversion as Woodbridge’s Jason Scriber brought down quarterback Green near the right sideline. That drive ended with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

The next time Potomac had the ball, the Vikings held onto their 22-20 lead again as defensive back David Walker tackled Hughes at the Woodbridge 26-yard line two yards short of a first down on a fourth-and-six play with 11:08 remaining in the game.

After a fake punt backfired and Potomac took over at the Viking 30-yard line, the Woodbridge defense stood tall again. Scriber sacked Green to force a Panther punt from the 38.

Woodson’s 31-yard punt backed the Vikings up and helped set up the final drive. He then booted the last kickoff into the Woodbridge end zone, and Hughes picked off an Andre Bratton pass to wrap up the victory.

Woodbridge had led 16-14 at the half, thanks to a 30-yard field goal from Andrew Kodsi with 3:37 remaining.

Each team scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half, with Potomac’s first coming just 18 seconds into its new season. Carlos Gordon ran back the opening kickoff 51 yards to give the Panthers the ball at the Woodbridge 34-yard line. Then, on the first play from scrimmage, Green handed the ball to Gordon, who fired a touchdown pass to wideout Bryan Butler.

Gordon hurt his leg on Potomac’s second possession and did not return. The Panthers, though, continued to move the ball. In the first minute of the second quarter, they took a 14-7 lead on fullback Brandon Clark’s 3-yard run and Green’s two-point conversion pass to Butler.

Both times Potomac scored in the first half, Woodbridge rallied for the next touchdown. In the first quarter, Terry (nine carries for 104 yards in the game) scored on a 15-yard run one play after the quick drive began with a 19-yard swing pass from Bratton. And in the second quarter, Bratton scored on a 1-yard run after throwing a 65-yard pass to Tyrone Harris to start an eight-play, 82-yard drive.

Last year, in coach Keith King’s first season after leaving Potomac’s top post, the Vikings lost 51-7 to the Panthers on their way to a second straight 2-8 season. Woodbridge scored more than 19 points only once in 2001 in a 34-6 win at Osbourn. Potomac, meanwhile, went 9-3 and reached the Northwest Region, Division 5 final.

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