WOODSTOCK -- Etowah started slow, came roaring back and then held on late for a thrilling 28-21 win over visiting archrival Woodstock on Friday.
After falling behind 14-7 at halftime, the Eagles (3-3, 2-0 Region 4AAAAAAA) used a pair of 30-yard touchdowns to go up 28-14 in the second half. The game was ultimately won with Woodstock (1-5, 0-1) driving deep in Etowah territory, only for the Eagles to make a stop on fourth-and-6 to seal the game with 37 seconds remaining.
"I've been telling people this for years, and they don't believe me" Etowah coach Dave Svehla said. "It doesn't matter what the records are, it doesn't matter who's done what. It never matters in this rivalry. Woodstock is always prepared to play us."
Woodstock jumped to a 7-0 lead on the game's first possession when quarterback Walker Ormsby found De'Andre Turner for a 2-yard touchdown pass, capping an 11-play, 66-yard drive. The score was part of a 30-for-44, 221-yard performance for Ormsby.
Etowah struck back later in the quarter with a 20-yard score from Dalton Miller to Jackson Manns, tying the game at 7-all.
Manns led Etowah's receivers with five catches for 77 yards, and Miller completed 15 of 25 passes for 196 yards.
Woodstock took a 14-7 lead into the intermission via a 57-yard run by tailback V'ontae Hampton, part of a 91-yard night on the ground for the junior.
Etowah took control of the game in the third quarter, tying it at 14-all on their first drive of the second half, getting a 3-yard scoring run from Remington Adams, who had entered the game just before halftime. Five minutes later, Miller connected with receiver Brock Rechsteiner, who broke a tackle by Woodstock safety David Daniel on his way to a 30-yard touchdown and Etowah's first lead of the night at 21-14.
The Eagles went up 28-14 early in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard run by Klivert Many.
"Woodstock had a really good game plan, and they made plays in the first half," Svehla said. "We ran some different sets in the second half offensively and it helped us get an extra player at the point of attack. We did a pretty good job of throwing it and catching it."
Woodstock did not go quietly, though, as Ormsby led the Wolverines on a 15-play, 67-yard drive, ending in a 2-yard scoring run by Hampton to pull the visitors within one score at 28-21.
The Wolverines again made a stop on defense and got the ball back again for a potential game-tying drive, but after 15 plays and 73 yards, Ormsby's pass on fourth down fell short, giving Etowah the ball back to seal the victory.
"It comes down to little things -- a play here or there, that's the difference," Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. "I think Etowah did a good job of running the ball in the second half, and it took us a while to find the answer to that. I've been lucky to be a part of this rivalry (for a long time), and they get after it. For the most part, it's clean, and it's hard-fought."
"This is a rivalry, and everybody gets up for this game," Svehla said. "I'm just glad we're 2-0 in the region."