WALKER – It was the best drive by Woodlawn’s offense, having reached Walker’s 14-yard line with two seconds remaining in Thursday’s spring football scrimmage.
The Wildcats set up one final play in the live 12-minute quarter when defensive back Devin Biossat knocked away a pass in the end zone.
When Woodlawn attempted one final pass with the clock expired, Walker’s Jalen Cook registered his second interception of the game, but the rising senior was hardly finished on the play.
Cook, who caught a touchdown earlier in the game, brought out the interception from five yards deep in the end zone and once he picked up a key block from cornerback Kobie Moncree near midfield, he was able to take it the distance and complete a 105-yard scoring play.
“We had kind of got sloppy toward the end, they were moving the ball and we took it kind of personal in the red zone,” Cook said. “We had to be the team we are and stop them. We couldn’t let them score.”
Woodlawn kept the ball for 11 plays, driving from its own 27 to Walker’s 14, picking up three first downs on one run play and two pass completions.
The Panthers wound up with 68 yards of offense on 17 plays during the live quarter which consisted of 12 minutes.
“Overall, that was a big moment not to let them in and it takes one play to turn it around and Jalen made that play,” Walker first-year coach Chad Mahaffey said. “That was a good way to finish.”
Walker’s offense sputtered during that portion of the scrimmage after quarterback Ethan McMasters scrambled outside of the pocket on fourth-and-seven to connect with Brian Thomas, who broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for a 54-yard scoring play at the 10:22 mark.
The Wildcats defense limited the Panthers to four yards on eight plays with Keondre Brown and Tristan Thompson each registering tackles for losses.
Defensive lineman Jovun Muyles delivered back-to-back tackles behind the of scrimmage for losses totaling nine yards.
“I think that’s (defensive coordinator) coach (Chris) Womack’s philosophy to put some guys in the box and make that inside run difficult and I thought our guys did a good job of executing that,” Mahaffey said.
Both teams had two possessions each to run 12 plays on offense where Walker scored three times.
McMasters threw a 30-yard corner route to Cook on second-and-five, while three plays into their next series Brown sped to the left side en route to a 58-yard scoring run.
Place-kicker Bradley Cain added both extra points for the Wildcats.
“I thought it looked good, but we’ve got some things to improve,” said McMasters, who completed 12 of 22 passes for 196 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. “It’s only two weeks of running this stuff and doing it on the field. I think we’ll be good by the time the season comes around after working on it this summer.”
McMasters’ second TD pass came on Walker’s final play of the scripted portion of the scrimmage. He found Thomas who put his head down near the goal line and scored to complete a 17-yard score.
Thomas wound up 7 catches for 131 yards and 2 TDs, while Demetrie Wright carried five times for 52 yards.
“I’ve got the two best receivers in the state,” McMasters said. “Just put it in a spot where they can go get it and they’ll make a play on it. It’s pretty easy.”
Walker’s defense yielded 45 yards in 24 plays – the span of two series that included an interception on a deflection by Cook and a fumble recovery from Biossat on the first play of the scrimmage.
The Wildcats recorded three sacks on the Panthers’ second series with Thompson, Dakota Wilson and Myles all picking up quarterback sacks.
“Defensively, I thought we gave them some problems early,” Mahaffey said. “The guys were playing hard and flying around and that’s half the battle. Offensively, there were some big plays in the passing game. I think we can be a little consistent running the ball and need to be. We’ve got some weapons out there that we’ll be able to use.”
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