Woods' home opener successful

Sep. 25—If anyone other than Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College sprint-football quarterback Brennon Landry owns this distinction, please contact the Tribune-Star sports department immediately.

On Saturday afternoon, the 6-foot freshman played at West Vigo High School's Jay Barrett Field. Considering Landry played for victorious Westgate High School in the Louisiana Class 4A state championship game last December inside Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, he may be the first athlete to ever perform on the natural grass of Jay Barrett Field and on the synthetic turf of the Superdome during his career.

But more importantly Saturday, Landry threw two touchdown passes in the first half and led the Pomeroys to a 21-7 triumph over Quincy University in the program's first home game in its history. Combined with last weekend's overtime win at Calumet College of St. Joseph, SMWC is 2-0 for the six-game regular season.

"It was a great atmosphere," Landry said after being told the attendance was listed as 1,000. "I didn't expect this many people to come out."

To clarify previous confusion, the Woods-Calumet game was considered non-Midwest Sprint Football League (MSFL) action because the same teams will engage in a conference tilt Oct. 22 at West Vigo, so Saturday's victory over Quincy made SMWC 1-0 in the MSFL.

Either way, it's a good thing for The Woods.

"I'm really proud of what we've done so far," SMWC coach Blaine Powell told the Tribune-Star afterward. "These kids, they're fighters. We had 12 guys out [with injuries] for this game, including three starting wide receivers. But they just step up and keep playing. That's what we want them to do . . . use that 'next play' mentality and 'don't look at the scoreboard, just play football.' That's what these kids are doing."

For those who don't know, sprint football is for players weighing 178 pounds or less. For first-time spectators of this sport, it didn't look much — if any — different than regular football. The only way you'd be disappointed is if you yearn to see a 280-pound defensive lineman pick up a fumble and try to lumber to the end zone.

What fans did see Saturday was Woods defensive back Gavin Roddy, a freshman, scoop up a fumble by Quincy QB Taylor Klusmeyer and dart 2 yards into the end zone for a touchdown with 5:14 left in the first half. Little did anyone know, that and Drake Varns' third extra-point kick were the final scores of the game. Defenses excelled in the second half and neither team scored.

Quincy actually tallied on the first possession of the contest, culminating an eight-play, 54-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run by Klusmeyer. Setting that up one play earlier was a 29-yard aerial connection between Klusmeyer and Camden Pye.

It took SMWC a while to get its offense going, but a high snap that sailed over the Quincy punter's head and bounced out of bounds after that same punter kicked it on the ground and to his right to avoid a Woods recovery provided the Pomeroys with outstanding field position on the Hawks' 11-yard line.

On the very next play, Landry found wide-open running back Patrick Perea dashing to the left — ignored by the defense — for the 11-yard TD to help knot the score at 7-7 with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter.

On the visitors' third play of their next possession, The Woods' Xavian Grant picked off another Klusmeyer pass, giving the ball back to the Pomeroys at the 50.

It took them 10 plays, but they finally reached paydirt when Landry drilled a 4-yard pass straight ahead to freshman Jaheem Joseph in the end zone. Varns' PAT kick padded the Pomeroys' cushion to 14-7 with 13:40 to go in the second period.

"I just saw an open hole," Joseph mentioned. "I was supposed to go straight, but I just sat there [not literally] because there was a big hole. My quarterback [Landry] saw me and hit me right down the middle and I caught it. Touchdown. . . . I think [the Hawks] were expecting No. 8 [tight end Carlos Munoz Jr.] to get the ball, but I found a gap."

Later that period, Quincy was pinned on its own 1 after an unreturned 46-yard punt by SMWC's Justin White. Three plays later came Roddy's scoop and score, bumping the Pomeroys' lead up to 21-7.

"Our defense played lights-out all day," Powell emphasized. "Playing against the athletes like they have, you're going to give up some points here and there."

"It was a hard-fought game," Landry added. "I'm proud of our guys."

"The offensive and defensive lines are faster," Joseph said about the uniqueness of sprint football.

"It's just like regular football," Landry chimed in. "It's just faster than what everybody is used to."

Next Saturday, The Woods will celebrate its homecoming with a 4 p.m. matchup against Midway, Ky., at Jay Barrett Field.

"Midway is similar to the team we just played," Powell assessed. "They have a very strong defense. Maybe the only difference is, they may throw it a little bit more [than Quincy]."

Powell thinks four of the injured 12 heading into the Quincy clash are likely to be available next Saturday.

"This team is looking like it can go undefeated," Joseph noted.