The Wolverines, however, came up with the same result in a 24-7 loss at Raider Valley to begin Region 5AAAAAA play.
Woodstock (0-4, 0-1) remained winless and lost a fourth-straight game for the first time since 2002, when it finished the season 0-10. However, coach Brent Budde saw more parallels between this season and the one the Wolverines experienced in 2008.
“Sometimes, you have to go through some failures before you get to the end,” he said. “Hopefully, this will lead to wins at the end of the year. In ’08, we
didn’t start off great, but we won the last four games of the year and finished 6-4, and went to the playoffs and then went to the elite eight.
“It’s right there in front of us. We just have to go get it. We will have to work and go get it.”
Much of the reason why the Wolverines appeared better this week was due to their effort on defense. After allowing 28, 21 and 27 points over its first three games, Woodstock allowed Walton 24. But seven of those points came almost directly off a turnover, and the Wolverines played what is most likely the best offense they had faced this season.
Woodstock’s defense also forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter that set up its offense inside Walton’s 26-yard line. But the Wolverines were unable to convert that opportunity into points, with Eric Cervantez missing a 48-yard field goal.
“I’m proud of our kids and the effort,” Budde said. “I think that our defense is starting to come around and starting to get after it a little bit more. I thought we played pretty well against a pretty good offensive team that Walton had.”
Although Walton’s star running back, Tyren Jones, played with a cast on his left hand — due to what he said was a “dislocated wrist with a fracture in it” — the Wolverines’ defense held the Alabama commitment to his lowest rushing total of the season — 132 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown.
“I think the Jones kid wasn’t 100 percent,” Budde said. “But, even at not 100 percent, he’s as good or better than most in our region. And I thought that our kids did a good job of getting in there and filling the gaps. I think that was the key. They each kept their gap and played responsible football.”
Offensively, the Wolverines continued to struggle. Although they scored the game’s first points, they weren’t able to sustain long drives.
Woodstock running back Jean Boureau picked up a 65-yard run on the Wolverines’ second possession of the game, which led to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Justin Agner to Addison Bass two plays later.
However, Boureau finished the game with only seven carries for 79 yards. As a team, Woodstock finished with 59 yards of offense for the night and converted just four first downs.
“I think you’re going up against a good defense, and you’ve got to give Walton their credit there,” Budde said. “I guess that was my message as well. We’ve got to put them on a shorter field, so that the offense doesn’t have to drive 80 yards down the field. That’s hard for any offense, unless you are going to have long plays and have playmakers that can take the ball to the house on one snap.
“We’re going to have to find ways to drive the ball the length of the field. Obviously, we have to find something to hang our hat on offensively.”