by Garrett Mitchell
Woodruff tailback Shamare Dendy took a handoff early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game at Broome and looked for daylight. Finding none, the sensational junior simply made his own by clearing away two defenders with a powerful stiff arm and broke free down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown.
That proved to be the back breaker.
Dendy’s touchdown, his third of the night, gave the Wolverines a 45-20 lead and all of the breathing room they would need en route to a 45-28 victory over the Centurions.
In the early going, it was a battle of attrition as both sides struggled to gain a foothold. Broome (1-1) received the opening kickoff and broke on top 6-0 on a two-yard run from C.J. Littlejohn to cap a methodical eight-play, 80-yard drive.
Woodruff (2-0) responded with a long drive of its own, punctuated by a one-yard Chandler Sorenson scoring run, to take their first lead of the night, 7-6. The Wolverines added to that advantage a few minutes later on Dendy’s first score, a 17-yard run, to make it a 14-6 game.
Broome would score on its next two possessions, a five-yard run by C.J. Littlejohn and one-yard score by Bryant Davis, respectively, to take its largest lead of 20-14. Davis’ score, which came with 11:18 to play in the second quarter, would be the Centurions’ final salvo until the game was well in hand for Woodruff.
On the third play of the ensuing drive, quarterback B.J. Bailey found a streaking Zy Scott down the seam for a 72-yard scoring strike. Then, in the waning moments of the half, Dendy struck once more from 15 yards out to give Woodruff a 28-20 halftime cushion.
“I put my trust in my linemen and they told me they had my back before the game,” Dendy said. “Those guys led the way and made it possible for me to score. I thank them for everything they did.”
The Wolverines piled on in the third period, as Bailey hooked up with Omarion McKelvin on a 44-yard touchdown pass. Noah Gaspar added a 34-yard field goal before Dendy’s final, and most sensational, run of the evening put the game on ice.
Dendy finished with 18 carries for 163 yards while also catching four passes for 36.
“Shamare is our workhorse,” said Woodruff head coach Bradley Adams. “He is definitely the guy we want to get the football to in every crucial moment that we have. B.J. did a good job tonight of really controlling the game and that’s all we ask him to do, just control it and be able to execute.”
Bailey turned in a stellar night of his own, completing 16 of 23 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target, McKelvin, was on the receiving end of eight passes for 110 yards.
Woodruff piled up 477 yards of total offense, 241 through the air and 236 on the ground.
“This year our offensive line was something we really thought we could rely on,” Adams said “We feel like we can move a little better than we did last year and as we came out of halftime, we told them that this was their football game to win now and they had to control the ground game.”
K.J. Morgan led the way for Broome, completing 18 of 26 throws for 194 yards while rushing for 70 yards on 11 carries. Littlejohn finished with 81 yards on 11 rushing attempts and three scores. Hayden Wooten led all Centurion receivers with six grabs for 95 yards.
Woodruff returns home for two games at Varner Stadium in the coming weeks, with Class 2A seventh-ranked Southside Christian on tap next.
“We practiced hard all week for this game,” Dendy said. “Coach (Adams) was hard on us, but everybody finally came together as a team. We knew how important this game was.”