Woodland Hills upsets Mars in WPIAL Class 5A 1st round

Friday, November 2, 2018 | 11:30 PM

Woodland Hills did not have the regular season that WPIAL football fans have come to expect, but when it took the field Friday night, it put together a classic Wolverines performance and pulled off a first-round upset.

Anthony Merideth had 150 yards rushing and a touchdown and the defense forced three turnovers for No. 13 Woodland Hills in a 14-0 win over No. 4 Mars in the Class 5A playoffs at Mars Athletic Complex.

“This feels good,” Meredith said. “A lot of people thought we were going to lose. They’re a good team. A lot of people doubted us, so it feels good for us to show them differently.”

The Wolverines advanced to play No. 5 West Allegheny in the quarterfinals next Friday. West Allegheny won the regular season meeting 14-13.

Two keys that helped the Wolverines pull the upset was their ability to run the ball effectively and control the line of scrimmage on defense. They held Mars running back Garrett Reinke to 64 yards rushing. Reinke, a senior, finished second in the WPIAL in rushing in the regular season.

Woodland Hills racked up 285 yards on the ground. Will Clark had 116 yards rushing to go along with Merideth’s 150 yard game.

“Our kids stepped up to the plate and did what the needed to do,” Woodland Hills coach Tim Bostard said. “The last couple weeks we have been playing Woodland Hills football. We were ground and pound in our base offense and we were running it well. Not everything is going to go as you want regular season, but every week you just try to get better. We’ll see where we end up.”

Merideth broke free on the left side and went 57 yards for a touchdown two minutes into the second quarter to give Woodland Hills a 7-0 lead.

“I saw my left-side tackle pulling, then I hit a cutback and it was just me and another guy one-on-one,” Merideth said about his touchdown run. “I was able to outrun the safety, and I got the touchdown.”

Gavin Judson added a 1-yard run in the third quarter that put the Wolverines ahead two scores.

Mars had scored 30 or more points in its last four regular season games, but achieved only six first downs on Friday. They had a couple plays that nearly missed for potential touchdowns, including a half back pass attempt in the fourth quarter to a wide open Tom Sheehy in the fourth quarter that landed just beyond Sheehy’s outstretched arms.

“They played a good game,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “Up front they did a good job. We weren’t able to string enough plays together to move the football. The plays were there. We just didn’t make them when we needed to make them. Sometimes that’s the way it works.”

Woodland Hills (5-6) also won the special teams battle. Wolverines punter Charles Hanchett pinned Mars (9-2) inside the one late in the fourth quarter. Jay Smith sealed the win with an interception.

Jeffery Williams picked off a Tyler Kowalkowski pass midway through the fourth quarter with Mars driving near midfield. Kowalkowski finished 5 of 15 passing with 108 yards and a pair of interceptions.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.

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