May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

After upset win, Woodbridge moves on to CIF Division 12 quarterfinals

Woodbridge Coach Aaron Craver meets with No. 55 Cameron Athas and No. 3 Dereck Moore in a game earlier this season. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Woodbridge’s football team is off to the quarterfinal round of the CIF Division 12 playoffs after rallying in the final seconds for a 24-21 victory over No. 2-seeded Norwalk Friday night in Norwalk.

Coach Aaron Craver’s Warriors (4-7 overall) host Rosemead (6-5) Friday night at 7 in the quarterfinal round at University.

‘We told the kids to keep plugging away during the season,” said Craver, the first-year coach. “We were trying to figure out who are players were and who was going to be starters. We didn’t have an off-season. I’m sure other teams went through something similiar but this being my first full year of coaching, it took five to seven games to figure it (the starters) out and now it looks like we’re just starting to peak at the right time.

“Our kids stuck together the whole year. And now that we’re winning, it just feels so much better because we stuck together when we were on that four or five or six game losing streak.”

Woodbridge went through a five-game losing streak, but bounced back to win two of three games in the Pacific Valley League. Woodbridge beat Beckman 28-15, lost to Northwood 35-13 and defeated University 30-7.

“We finished up strong, winning two of our last three and now three of our last four games,” Craver said. “The guys bever wavered. They’re constantly trying to get better and we’re really young. Most of our starters, especially on offense, are coming back next year.”

Woodbridge went into Friday’s game knowing the double wing offense run by Norwalk (6-5) would be a challenge to defend.

“We didn’t really stop them,” Craver said. “We just kind of outlasted them in a way. I thought they played a really good game and we played a really good game, we just got the ball last.”

Junior Daniel Goodrich intercepted the ball with about four minutes left to give the Warriors (4-7) a chance at the game winner.

“We ended up driving down the field on that last drive and getting the ball to the one or two yard line and we didn’t have another timeout so we downed the ball and had to go for the field goal,” Craver said.

Goodrich kicked the game-winning field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Woodbridge put itself in position to tie it on the previous possession.

“The series before that was one of the key ones because we were down by eight, we missed an extra point earlier in the game,” Craver said.

Woodbridge opted to go for a first down on a fourth and 5 from its own 40-yard line rather than punting and risking having Norwalk run the clock out.

“We made it, Dereck Moore caught a short pass to get us a first down and we ended up scoring and going for two,” Craver said.

Senior Jackson Trerotola caught the two-point pass and the touchdown pass from quarterback Edward Ma to cap a big offensive performance.

“He (Trerotola) said ‘it was the first touchdown of my life.'”Craver said.

Moore had a big game for the Warriors, Craver added.

“He probably caught or seven passes, most of those were for first downs,” Craver said.

Moore also had the 35-yard catch that put the Warriors in position to kick the game-winning field goal.

Feiamma Armstrong, the Warriors go-to running back, rushed for more than 100 yards.

“He’s had probably had over 100 yards the last four or five of the last six games, he’s had some really good games, and he probably caught six or seven passes,” Craver said.

“Daniel Goodrich also played a great game offensively and defensively, both he and Dereck Moore played both ways,” Craver said.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com