By Mark Pinto
FOREST PARK, Ohio – Winton Woods defeated Kings, 40-14, behind the Warriors’ outstanding defense in the first round of the Division II, Region 6 playoffs at Frederick Stadium Friday night.
The Winton Woods defense dominated the entire game and the offense turned up the momentum in the second half as the Warriors advanced to the second round for the second straight season and the fourth in the last five.
The defense controlled the line of scrimmage, holding an explosive Kings offense to only 187 yards, and most of those came in the fourth quarter when Winton Woods had a commanding 40-point lead.
After averaging just over 103 yards per game this season, Kings junior running back DeAndre Barrett was held to only 17 yards on 16 carries, and the Kings offense went 1-for-10 on third downs.
“We hang our hat on playing well up front,” Winton Woods head coach Andre Parker said. “We expect to do that each game.”
University of Kentucky commit Mike Edwards was a difference maker in the Winton Woods secondary, as he had two interceptions, both coming in the first half. The first interception came three plays into the game on the Warriors’ 33 yard line after Kings recovered the onside kick on the opening kickoff.
“The intensity was higher for the defense in this game,” Edwards said. “We practiced harder during the week because it’s the playoffs.”
Winton Woods accumulated 338 yards in the second half, 264 of which came on the ground and scored four of its six touchdowns after the break.
The Warriors finished with 500 total yards – 464 rushing.
Junior Marcus Davis led the Winton Woods rushing attack with 180 yards and two touchdowns. Coming off a sprained ankle that has slowed him down in the middle part of the season, Davis has rushed for a combined 396 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.
“We were able to get ourselves in a rhythm in the second half,” Parker said. “In the first half we were out of rhythm a lot because of the penalties and got behind the chains.”
Going into halftime, Winton Woods was only ahead 14-0, mostly due to turnovers and penalties that stalled drives.
Both have haunted the Warriors all season. In the first half the Warriors committed three turnovers and eight penalties for 85 yards, but in the second half they did not turn the ball over and were flagged for four penalties, which came late in the game.
“We just needed to calm down and settle down,” Parker said. “This is the first time a lot of these kids are in the playoffs and most of the penalties were just overzealous penalties so we needed to get them settled down and just play football.”
Winton Woods will now face Mount Healthy in the second round of the playoffs. It is an old conference rivalry reborn in the playoffs.
“We have not played in a while but we get to play now and it is exciting,” Parker said.