Wolverines Fall in Second Round of 3A Playoffs to Defending Champion Wren
By Garrett Mitchell, Staff Writer
The Woodruff football team saw their postseason run come to an end on Friday, Nov. 20 against defending 4A state champion Wren, 39-7.
During a challenging season, set against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, a young Wolverine team grew by leaps and bounds while setting the stage for what could be a continued run of success for years to come.
“We were definitely a young football team,” said head coach Bradley Adams. “We are nowhere near an older football team and if you would have told us going into this year that we would be in basically the third round of the playoffs I probably would have thought you were crazy. We’re young and we definitely have the potential with some very good players coming back to have a very successful season (in 2021).”
Among the youth movement for the Wolverines is sophomore quarterback Carson Tucker. Tucker, in his first varsity season, took the helm without the benefit of consistent summer repetitions and normal 7-on-7 passing competitions due to COVID-19 safety measures and protocols.
Tucker still put together a banner season, passing for 1,565 yards and 19 touchdowns in just eight games while completing 66 percent of his passes.
Two of the Wolverines’ most dynamic playmakers, however, are seniors in tailback Shamare Dendy and wide receiver Zy Scott. Both Dendy and Scott had the best season of their respective careers, with Dendy rushing for 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns. Scott, meanwhile, was nearly unstoppable with 39 catches for 832 yards and 11 scores. Scott averaged 21.3 yards-per-reception, a single-season Woodruff record.
With the threat of postponement or game cancellations ever-present due to health and safety protocols, the Wolverines battled through adversity all season, a merit praised by Adams.
“Man, these young men work hard,” he said. “Anybody that doesn’t see that, I’m sorry that you don’t. They busted their butts since we got going with this thing in June and the give you their best effort. You have to support them and stick by them, no matter what happens, whether you win or lose.”
Along the way, Woodruff provided many memorable moments and performances that signaled the growth of a team coming into its own.
In the season’s second game, trailing Union County 20-6 at halftime, Woodruff rallied for a thrilling 28-26 win. A rare Monday night game against rival Broome, with a playoff spot on the line, saw the Wolverines stave off the Centurions, 41-33.
Against their arch-rival Chesnee, Woodruff’s offense erupted to bury the previously undefeated, top five Eagles 49-28 as Tucker threw five touchdown passes, and against Palmetto in their first play-off game, the Wolverines rushed for 358 yards on the way to a 34-13 victory.
Woodruff finished with a 5-3 overall record and qualified for the playoffs for the 18 time in the past 19 seasons.
The future remains bright, with ample reason for optimism moving forward. With a multitude of starters back on both sides of the ball, including three along the offensive line, and with freshman Rashad Reid and sophomore Capone Jackson among the top returners on defense, the 2021 season will be eagerly anticipated by the Wolverines.
For the seniors who played their final game against Wren, Adams had a simple message.
“We explained to them, hey, there’s only one champion. Not everybody’s going to win and there are a lot of good teams out there who don’t win it. You have to learn something from this game. You have to carry it with you and hopefully it makes a difference in your life.”