WOODWARD — Ask a Woodward-Granger athlete, male or female, “Who is your biggest rival?” and the answer, almost without exception, will be “Madrid.”
That said, there is precious little love lost between W-G and the few sports in which the Hawk boys encounter Woodward Academy, and football leads the way.
W-G (2-1, 1-0) had to be pleased, therefore, with the results of Friday’s Class 1A District 5 opener, as the Hawks trampled the Knights (0-3, 0-1), 62-14, at Uthe Field.
The Hawks rushed for 234 yards on 40 carries and passed for 98 additional yards while scoring six offensive touchdowns. The Knights had 123 passing yards and a score through the air, but were held to minus-11 yards on 15 carries as the ground game was thrown into reverse.
Austin Scharlau started the scoring by taking a hand off up the middle, then bouncing right and winning a diagonal race to the pylon for a 31-yard TD. Kicker Matt Hansen bulled his way to a two-point conversion from a swinging gate formation for an 8-0 lead.
The margin stood at 16-0 after one frame when Payton Tague scored on a six-yard run and added the conversion.
W-G quarterback Brendan Bird hit J.P. Nixon in stride for a 60-yard scoring strike, with a Bird conversion run setting the score at 24-0 early in the second period.
The Knights replied in kind, with Galvester Robinson II finding a speedy Ashaun Phillips for a 66-yard TD, with Joe Topete’s PAT boot trimming the gap to 24-7.
Tague had a quarter to remember minutes later. He stepped in front of a Robinson pass on the next Academy possession, returning the interception 59 yards for a score. The Knights went to the air on the third play of their next possession, with Tague again picking off a pass and this time returning the pigskin 30 yards for another score and a 40-7 Hawk lead.
Anthony Ward III returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for an Academy TD to bring the score to 40-14, but a three-yard Cole Carmen plunge set the halftime margin at 48-14.
Tague scored his fourth touchdown of the contest on a short run in second half, with Bryce Achenbach scampering in from 19 yards out to help set the final score.
Bird was 5-of-9 for 98 yards and one TD passing, with Nixon catching four balls for 81 yards and a score while Logan Canova had a reception for 17 yards.
Scharlau (11-88, 1 TD), Tague (12-58, 2 TDs) and Carmen (6-39, 1 TD) led the W-G ground assault.
In addition to the two “pick-six” plays from Tague the Hawks recovered one fumble, with Gabe Yingst landing on the ball. Scharlau had a team-high seven tackles (two for a loss of yards) and Carmen five denials (three for a loss).
Robinson was 13-26-2 for 123 yards and a score in the air for the Academy.
Ashaun Phillips had six grabs for 80 yards and a TD, with Kareen Wilson hauling in six passes for 44 yards while Ward lost one yard on a reception.
Darnell Green made eight tackles for the Knights, with Julian Gill providing 4.5 stops.
The Academy will switch to the west benches and host Mt. Ayr (1-2, 0-1) Friday. The Raiders defeated host Nodaway Valley, 58-8, but have since fallen, 14-6, to Southwest Valley and, last week, to visiting Central Decatur, 34-22.
Central Decatur (3-0, 1-0) will host W-G Friday. In addition to their win over Mt. Ayr, the Cardinals have a home win over Centerville (30-10) and a road win at Clarke (47-6).