With the final seconds ticking away, the season on the line, Will Wolf took stock and reacted.
He remembers it this way.
“We were running a blitz, so I had to come up on the running backs. I saw him run out to the flat,” said Wolf, a senior safety on the Greenwood Community High School football team. “I just went towards him to make a tackle and got lucky and knocked the ball out.”
Wolf knocked the ball out inches from the goal line. Fellow safety Dylan Rosado scooped it up and raced 99 yards for a touchdown with 6.2 second left.
And with that, unranked Greenwood stunned an unbeaten opponent — on its home field — and kept alive its bid for its first sectional championship in a decade.
By virtue of that 29-17 win at No. 10 Northview, secured by Wolf’s forced fumble, the Woodmen earned the right to host Roncalli in a Class 4A sectional final Friday night.
Wolf is confident the Woodmen (7-4) will make the most of the opportunity.
“It was a great feeling after that win. It was a real close game,” said Wolf, whose huge defensive stop saved what shaping into a game-winning drive for Northview. “We’re feeling pretty good going into this because we’ve got a good game plan.
“I feel like we’re getting a little momentum going into this game.”
Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said he feels the same way.
Winners of three of their past four games, the comparatively young Woodmen have won back-to-back games, are coming off their biggest win of the season and have, by all appearances, saved their best for last.
“Because we play a combination of sophomores and juniors, and then a few seniors who didn’t have a lot of varsity experience, it’s been a building process throughout the year,” Campbell said. “The kids are peaking at the right time. The thing that has been unique or great about this group is their ability to be each others’ fan. They support each other the way you want teams to.
“Even when things got pretty tight against Northview, no one was complaining. They were cheering for each other. It’s a very selfless group.”
Thing did indeed get tight at Northview, particularly in the final two minutes.
Things were in fact tighter than tight.
Down to their last play, trailing 17-16, on a fourth-and-10 situation, sophomore quarterback Seth Gallman connected with Rosado — who plays wide receiver and safety — for a 65-yard go-ahead touchdown strike with 1:31 to play.
But the Knights weren’t finished. Instead of wilting, they moved inside the Greenwood 5-yard line and were poised to score the winning touchdown when Wolf ruined everything for the hosts.
Wolf stripped the ball from running back Ben Girton just before Girton reached the end zone, setting up Rosado’s 99-yard touchdown sprint to seal the win.
“There was just so much emotion running through my mind. It was hard to process, because I thought (Girton) had scored,” Wolf said. “But when I saw Dylan running the down the field, it was just the greatest feeling in the world.”
Now, the Woodmen have a chance for an even greater feeling when they host Roncalli (7-4) in the sectional championship. They are bidding for their first title since 2005.
Campbell likes the resurgent Woodmen’s chances.
“Roncalli, they’re a great team,” Campbell said. “They’re well-coached. They play hard. The way we look at it, if we play as hard as we can on every play, the scoreboard will take care of itself. We believe that.
“This group has been special in the way they’re friends. They care about each other. We always tell them, ‘We’re playing for one more week of practice,’ and the only way to do that is to have the opportunity to win on Friday night.”
FRIDAY NIGHT’S GAMES
Class 6A Regional
No. 1 Center Grove (11-0) at No. 7 Warren Central (8-3), 7 p.m.
Class 4A sectional championship
Roncalli (7-4) at Greenwood (7-4), 7 p.m.