The four-game winning streak of Woodside High School's varsity football team came to an end Friday night, against arch-rival Sequoia High, but not without a valiant effort fought to the last minute, with late scoring by both sides.
The Cherokees walked away with "The Log", a 2-foot-long specimen of a tree trunk that the Wildcats had held for two years.
"It was an exciting game from a spectator standpoint," Woodside coach Justin Andrews said. "We have a good team, but we're not great enough to just show up. If we play poorly, we're going to get beat."
The Wildcats were down, 15-0,at halftime and rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
"The first half was one step forward, two steps back, Andrews said. "We were fortunate enough to be down only 15-0 at the half, given the errors we were making."
On its first possession in the second half, Woodside punted, but Sequoia fumbled deep in its own territory. Woodside recovered and then scored with a run from three yards out, the beginning of a wild scoring sequence.
Sequoia answered with a steady drive down field to another touchdown, making it 22-7. Woodside responded with a 60-yard kickoff return that led to another touchdown.
Woodside then intercepted a pass in Sequoia territory and scored a minute or so later, but missed a two-point conversion, bringing Woodside within 22-20.
Sequoia lost possession again on a fumble, and Woodside lost possession on downs. After a series of punts on both sides, and several significant penalties, Woodside scored and successfully converted the 2-point conversation, giving the Wildcats a 28-22 edge before Sequoia's passing game produced the winning score with seconds left.
"We put ourselves into some really unfortunate situations," Coach Andrews said. "There were missed assignments and missed catches, uncharacteristic for the Wildcats at this point in the season.
On offense, too many third-and-long situations limited the Wildcats' options, he said.
"It was a combination of a lot of guys taking turns making mistakes," he said. Sequoia made mistakes, too, but the negative impacts were not as severe, and they capitalized on Wildcat errors, he said.
Going into the game undefeated, "we felt really good at what we were able to do," he said. "For some reason, we really regressed."