Brayden Woodard proved to be a one-man wrecking crew on offense and defense, leading undefeated North Vermillion over visiting North Central 27-14 in a Class A high school football Sectional 38 semifinal game Friday night at Gibson Field.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior ran for two touchdowns and 136 yards on 19 carries and passed for another TD as the quarterback, and he intercepted a North Central pass and returned it 75 yards as a defensive back to set up one of the Falcons’ second-half scores.
It’s worth noting that the No. 6-ranked Falcons routed North Central 48-0 in the regular season, but this contest ended up significantly more competitive.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Thunderbirds from Farmersburg actually jumped ahead 7-0 midway through the second period when Dillon Bailey connected with Dante Rehmel for a 6-yard TD lob in the right side of the end zone.
North Vermillion answered quickly to tie the score, marching 67 yards on eight plays to reach paydirt on a 6-yard run by Kody Zumwalt.
The home team then recovered an on-side kick and took advantage of it three plays later with a 42-yard TD scamper down the left sideline by Woodard. Although the extra-point kick was off the mark, the Falcons still led 13-7 heading into halftime.
Woodard’s interception return thwarted a North Central drive in the early minutes of the third period. Two plays later, North Vermillion padded its cushion to 20-7 when Woodard passed 12 yards to freshman Jacob Earl for a touchdown.
About two minutes later, North Central running back Chase VanSchoyck made his presence felt on defense when he picked off a Woodard pass and sprinted 23 yards for a touchdown to pull his squad within 20-14.
But North Vermillion kept the visitors from crossing the goal line in the final frame while adding a 1-yard TD run by Woodard for good measure.
North Vermillion, guided by former North Central coach Brian Crabtree, will put its 11-0 record on the line next Friday at Attica, which defeated Cloverdale 54-0 Friday, in a battle for the sectional championship.
North Central, which got 95 yards of rushing from VanSchoyck against the Falcons, went home with an 8-3 mark.
North Vermillion 27, North Central 14
North Central 0 7 7 0 — 14
North Vermillion 0 13 7 7 — 27
NC — Rehmel 6 pass from Bailey (A.Copeland kick), 6:26 2Q
NV — Zumwalt 6 run (Scott kick), 3:03 2Q
NV — Woodard 42 run (kick failed), 1:18 2Q
NV — Earl 12 pass from Woodard (Scott kick), 7:19 3Q
NC — VanSchoyck 23 interception return (A.Copeland kick), 5:18 3Q
NV — Woodard 1 run (Scott kick), 9:40 4Q
Rushing — North Central, VanSchoyck 25-95, Bailey 11-14, Burris 3-8, Rehmel 1-1. North Vermillion, Woodard 19-136, Zumwalt 25-102.
Passing — North Central, Bailey 3-8-2 37, VanSchoyck 0-1-0 0. North Vermillion, Woodard 5-8-1 57.
Receiving — North Central, Lebeda 1-16, VanSchoyck 1-15, Rehmel 1-6. North Vermillion, Earl 3-25, Lee 2-32.
Next — North Vermillion (11-0) will visit Attica next Friday to play for the Class A Sectional 38 championship. North Central finished 8-3.