Salem, trailing by eight points, had plans for overtime at Woodbury on Saturday after it drove to the Thundering Herd’s 10-yard line with less than a minute to play.
But Woodbury’s Keyshawn Christian ruined that plan and started a Thundering Herd celebration by intercepting a pass at the 3-yard line with 28 seconds left. Afterward, the senior had one word on his mind: relief.
“I kind of knew that they had to do a quick slant or something because we were all the way backed down at the 10,” Christian said. “They weren’t going to do anything that took long with the time winding down. So, just when they snapped the ball, I saw them do a slant, and I covered it up. I felt relief. Relief, man.”
Woodbury (3-1 overall, 1-1 Liberty) controlled the game from the start, scoring the first points on its first drive. Two strong runs by George Castaldi opened up a read-option play for quarterback Andre Parker, and he raced into the end zone for a 21-yard score.
The Thundering Herd scored next in the air on a perfect fade route to the back corner of the end zone. Isaiah Turner caught the 12-yard pass from Parker, and the game was 14-0 before halftime.
Things turned in Salem’s favor early in the second half as Tykerron Morrison recovered a fumble and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. But the Rams failed to convert a two-point attempt.
Things got really interesting in the fourth quarter as Salem (2-2, 1-1 Diamond) controlled the ball. On one series, a quick three-and-out turned into a long drive after a penalty for roughing the punter gave the Rams new life. And, with three minutes left in regulation, Salem thought it had drawn closer on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Parker to Kaciir Street only to have the play nullified by a holding penalty.
“We kept them alive with three giant fourth-down penalties” in the fourth quarter, said Woodbury coach Al Mailahn. “But, that’s adversity, and that’s what I told the kids. They could have packed it in. But we came up big when it counted. It’s a character builder. They didn’t quit.”
Salem: 0 0 6 0 6
Woodbury: 7 7 0 0 14
W: Andre Parker 21 run (Ian McKenna kick)
W: Isaiah Turner 12 catch (Ian McKenna kick)
S: Tykerron Morrison 24 fumble return (run failed)