By Bob Jones
Special to the Daily
The Ola Mustangs reverted to old school football and ground out a 21-12 victory over the Woodland Wolfpack, ending the Mustangs' five-game losing streak and extending the Wolfpack's string of losses to five.
The Ola win moved the Mustangs (2-5, 1-3) out of the basement in the Region 3A-AAAA, leaving Woodland (1-5, 0-3) alone at the bottom.
True football purists might consider the Ola victory a thing of pure beauty, with a smash-mouth in-your-face running game that chewed up huge chunks of time.
The Mustangs had three drives that lasted longer than six minutes, two ending in touchdowns and the third ending the game with the ball on the Wolfpack 7.
The time of possession battle was dominated by the visitors on Woodland's Homecoming Night to the tune of 31 minutes to 17 minutes for Woodland.
Things looked promising for the Wolfpack after their first two plays gained 30 yards, but the opening drive then stalled, handing the ball to Ola.
Four minutes later, Victor Griffin blasted in from the three, and Jacob Law's extra point made it 7-0 Mustangs.
Neither offense did much until Ola got the ball on the Mustang 40 with 8:22 left in the second.
Eleven running plays and one pass play later, with 2:01 left in the half, Tre McBride bulled in from the two and the visitors led by two scores.
Woodland had an answer for the Mustangs this time. Quarterback Devon Thames connected on three-straight passes to move the ball down field quickly, and then Thames executed a superb fake and keeper play to dance untouched to paydirt from the four. Josh Kiblinger kicked the extra point, but Ola was offside. Woodland took the point off the board and tried unsuccessfully for two.
The score was 14-6 at intermission.
Ola took the second-half kickoff and ground out another six-plus minute drive for six points.
The three-headed running attack of McBride, Griffin, and Ryan Arnold never gained more than six yards on a play, but kept the chains moving. Quarterback Neal Gandee faked a handoff on second and goal from the six and tossed a TD flat pass to McBride to make it 21-6.
Woodland responded with a four-minute drive that found the end zone when Thames dropped a pass into Bruce Robinson's arms from 23 yards out. Another two-point try failed, and the scoring was over. Ola went three-and-out, but Woodland was unable to move. Ola then got the running game going again, and ground out the last six minutes of the game, reaching the Wolfpack two before a delay of game penalty pushed them back. Game over.
Ray Tookes ran 10 times for 62 yards for Woodland, and Thames was 7 of 18 for 105 yards. Robinson caught four passes for 69 yards. The real heroes for the Wolfpack were the defenders, who spent so much time on the field. Marquiste Mason had quite a night with 11 tackles and the crown for Homecoming King. Ivory Bryant, Alex James, and Trey Evans had seven tackles each.
McBride was the offensive star for the Mustangs, rushing 19 times for 105 yards, catching three passes for 40 yards, and scoring two touchdowns. Dylan Parker led the Ola defense with seven tackles.