The Hornets got their tandem of workhorse tailbacks in a rhythm just in time to secure a 22-19 homecoming victory Friday night and drop Woodstock to 1-3 in Region 5AAAAAA and 2-5 overall.
Slade finished with 89 yards on 19 carries, while Evans racked up 66 yards on his 20 touches.
“They’re two very talented backs, and the smartest thing I can do is just give the ball to them,” Roswell coach John Ford said.
Roswell (4-3, 2-2) took control for good in the third quarter with a 15-play, 80 yard drive that ate over 6 minutes of clock and ended with Slade’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone. After Woodstock’s ensuing drive was cut short by an interception, Hornets quarterback James Whitaker found wideout Kendall Smith for a 32-yard touchdown strike to extend the lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter.
An 80-yard interception return by Woodstock senior defensive back Chase Mowery cut the deficit to three with just under 3 minutes left. But receiver Colin McCaulley secured the onside kick for the Hornets, and Roswell turned to Slade to melt the clock.
The junior tailback came through with a handful of tough runs, and with Woodstock quarterback Justin Agner nursing a shoulder injury after taking a big hit in the fourth quarter, backup Alex Motsinger couldn’t get anything going in Woodstock’s final possession.
“The team that controls the line of scrimmage more than likely is going to come out on top,” Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. “I think they controlled the line of scrimmage and got to the second level on our linebackers a little bit.”
Woodstock brought a 10-8 lead into halftime, but their lead could have been larger had they capitalized on the first of McMickens’ two punt blocks. McMickens got his hands on three punts in all, sending one through the end zone for a safety, and Mowery contributed a blocked extra point.
But after Roswell worked the game clock down to 1:11, punter Daniel Diroberto was able to get off a 25-yard punt that pinned Motsinger and the stalled Wolverines’ offense in their own end.
“Some guys have it, you know?” Budde said of McMickens. “They know how to block punts, and Jerrail’s one of those kids. That’s probably about six, maybe seven, on the year for him.”
Budde said the Wolverines would likely enter next week’s game against archrival Etowah without Agner, who found receiver Josh Loud behind the secondary in the first quarter for a 27-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring.