MAHOPAC, N.Y. – The Woodlands High School football team won its first section championship since 1993 with a 35-0 rout of Rye Neck in the Section 1 Class C championship game at Mahopac High School on Sunday.
The championship game featured a high-powered Woodlands offense against a Rye Neck defense that did not allow a single point in the regular season. But on Sunday, the Falcons proved to be too strong for even the Panthers to stop.
The Falcons had several players deserving of offensive MVP on Sunday, but senior Ron Richards received the honor. And he did it by following one simple directive from his coach.
“Make a play. Make a play to help the team,” Richards said. “Coach (Mike Meade) said don’t beat yourself and I tried to be the leader I am and just make a play.”
The turning point in the game came toward the end of the first half. The Falcons led 7-0 and Rye Neck had the ball. Woodlands had not moved the ball particularly well to that point, but a sack by D’Andre Tilford and a fumble recovery by D’Sean Downey on the same play sparked the offense.
The Falcons scored two touchdowns before the half ended to extend the lead to 22-0 and never looked back.
The Panthers’ strong defense had by far its worst effort of the year on Sunday, but Rye Neck coach Nick Ianello said he has no regrets about his team’s season despite the rough ending.
The Falcons will meet O’Neill out of Section 9 in the regionals on Saturday. If Woodlands’ offense performs like it did on Sunday, the Falcons could find themselves playing for a state championship for the first time.
“There’s a history and hopefully we’re starting a new history,” Meade said. “Woodlands has never been to the show and now we’re here and we got what we wanted.”
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