Taft Gantt ‘20
Woodberry Forest fell to Episcopal High School 21-7 in the 117th playing of the South’s oldest continuous high school rivalry. At a packed Hummel Bowl, EHS came out of the gates hot, taking a 21-0 lead going into halftime.
After a few motivational speeches in the locker room, including one by alumnus DeTrea Smith ‘17, the Tigers came out of halftime and proved that they were not going down without a fight. The defense forced Episcopal to punt on its opening drive, which led to an 18-yard touchdown pass to Khalid Thomas for Woodberry’s first points of the day. However, the Tigers would not see the end zone again. Defensively, the Tigers kept the intensity up for the remainder of the game, holding Episcopal scoreless in the second half.
“When we were down 21 points during halftime, we went to the locker room and said that our heads weren’t going to be down,” sixth-form captain Cam Hill said. “We were going to go fight the whole second half with each other because we love each other.”
Although only scoring seven points, Woodberry put together a few successful drives. One of which came early in the fourth quarter after an amazing interception by Thomas. The Tigers then had a chance to make it a one possession game, but the drive ended in a missed 38-yard field goal. Throughout the game, Episcopal’s front line brought relentless pressure against quarterback Will Wideman, tackling him for a loss 16 times. Although having little time to look for receivers, Wideman was still able to throw for 139 yards and a touchdown. DeQuece Carter had another impressive game to add to his breakout fifth form year, finishing with five catches for 51 yards. Sixth form running back Jameel Wilson piled up 85 total yards in his final high school football game.
Although it was not the finish they were hoping for, the Tigers ended the year 6-3 and Prep League Tri-Champions Woodberry shocked many people who thought that first-year head coach Scott Braswell would not be able to continue the dominance that Woodberry football has had in the past.
“[This season] was a special experience,” Thomas said. “This is a special group of guys, and it was a pleasure being out there with them every day. From beginning to end it has been a special season.”