Woodburn bounces back in 52-13 win over Junction City in home opener
The Woodburn Bulldogs wiped the taste of an opening-week loss out of their mouths and took out their frustrations in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on Friday, beating the Junction City Tigers 52-13.
It was an affirmation of the Bulldogs' commitment after the team's season-opening 36-14 loss at North Valley the previous week.
"The kids were focused all week," Woodburn head coach Nick Federico said. "They really got better at what we did, and I thought our game plan was really good, offensively and defensively."
Woodburn dominated both sides of the ball, taking a 45-0 lead into halftime and turning that into a 52-0 advantage on their opening drive of the third quarter when senior Donovan Spilka caught a touchdown pass on fourth down from junior Jordan Blem — his fifth passing score of the game.
"He's becoming a good field general, and that's exactly what he did on Friday," Federico said. "It was a great performance, moved the ball around extremely well."
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs harried Tigers quarterback Riley Sangermano relentlessly, pressuring him into poor passes and disrupting Junction City's offensive gameplan.
"They were gang-tackling, putting pressure on them," Federico said. "We were putting pressure on their quarterback. Outside backers were forcing everything back in."
It was also the first home game of the season for the Bulldogs, who were excited to get their opportunity to put their fleet-footed offense to the test on Woodburn's new synthetic turf field.
"We're kind of spreading the ball out and letting our playmakers get in space the best that we can," Federico said. "The kids liked it. We've been practicing on it. As soon as we get the track down, this complex is going to be amazing."
Unfortunately, the scheduling for this year's season is working against the Bulldogs, who play just three of their eight games at home. Last year, Woodburn played two of its three non-conference games at home, and three of five league games as well. With the sites flipped this year, Woodburn has precious little time to spend at its new facilities.
But that gives the team an added incentive during the season, forcing the Bulldogs to earn a home post-season game if they want to get another contest on friendly ground.
"We're going to have to be road warriors," Federico said. "If they want to play another home game, we just have to win, because then we'll get that home game in the play-in and the playoffs."
Woodburn (2-0) will travel to Molalla to take on the Indians (0-2) in their final non-conference game of the season on Friday. Last year, the two teams squared off in an uncharacteristic defensive showdown that the Bulldogs walked away from with a 9-7 win. The second time around, Federico would like to get the ball moving a little more early on and work on getting starting running back Dyontae Navarrete incorporated into the offense.
"Getting Dyontae back into the offense will be huge," Federico said. "He just adds another weapon. He didn't play last week, so getting him back will be scary."
Kickoff starts at 7 p.m. at Heckard Field.
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