PREP FOOTBALL: Meek’s playoff run ends with 21-14 loss to Woodland

Meek's Ethan Grace finished with 90 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Tigers' 21-14 loss to Woodland. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

ARLEY, Ala. – After hammering R.A. Hubbard on the road last week and advancing to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in 18 years, Meek’s postseason run came to an end Friday night with a 21-14 loss to Woodland. The Tigers rallied from an early deficit to take the lead in the second half but a late score from the Bobcats allowed them to pull away and win it 21-14, ending Meek’s postseason trip in round two.

Both teams traded punts and turnover-on-downs for most of the first quarter. After a Meek punt, Woodland found the end zone rather quickly on its next possession as a 49-yard run on just the third play of its series gave them a 7-0 lead with 2:16 remaining in the opening period. The Tigers looked to get going offensively but after two plays, they were faced with a third-and-11 from the 34-yard line. Quarterback David Tidwell found Jarrett Benson for an 18-yard gain, giving the Tigers a big first down. A personal foul on the Bobcats after the play ended pushed the ball to the 33-yard line. Back-to-back bruising run by Blake Miller gave Meek another first down at the 18-yard line, but they couldn’t do much after that as they were forced to turn the ball over on downs. 

The Tiger defense looked for a huge stand on its next series, but they got burned on a 68-yard pass and that put Woodland at the five-yard line. Two plays later, the Bobcats punched it in the end zone on a 1-yard run to increase the Meek deficit to 13-0 with 6:37 remaining in the first half. A turnover-on-downs and a punt later, the Tigers got the ball at the 19-yard line as they looked to find the end zone before the half. After Cam Deaver picked up a first down on a nine-yard run, Tidwell found Benson for a 25-yard pickup. After a short run, Tidwell found Benson once again as Benson looked to fight his way to the end zone, but he got tackled at the 11-yard line. The Tigers found themselves at the wrong end of a 13-0 score at the half.

Meek came out on fire to start out the second half. On the third play of its opening series, Ethan Grace broke free down the left sideline for a 41-yard gain and that put the Tigers at the 12-yard line. Four plays later, Grace found a huge hole up the middle and scored on a seven-yard run to cut the Tiger deficit to 13-8 with 8:26 remaining in the third quarter. Back-to-back punts gave the ball back to the Tigers as they looked to take the lead on its next series. Huge runs by Grace, Miller, and Cam Deaver helped Meek move the ball down the field as the Tigers quickly found themselves at the 10-yard line. Meek found themselves looking at a fourth down at the two-yard line, but Deaver came up just inches short of a first down and they turned the ball over on downs. 

After a Woodland punt that landed at the 24-yard line, the Tigers stuck to their bread and butter as Miller picked up 20 huge yards on back-to-back carries before Grace found the end zone on a four-yard run to give Meek a 14-13 lead with 4:38 remaining in the game. But what happened on the Bobcats’ next series left the entire Meek crowd in complete shock. On a 3rd-and-10 from the 38-yard line, Woodland’s quarterback threw a pass to his wide receiver, who had two Tiger defenders covering him. Somehow, he made an amazing catch and took it to the house to give the Bobcats a 21-14 lead with 3:34 remaining. Meek looked to answer on its next series, but Tidwell’s pass got intercepted. Meek had one more chance after the defense forced a turnover-on-downs, but a Deaver pass got picked off to end the game as the Tigers’ dream season comes to an end at the hands of the Woodland Bobcats, 21-14.

Grace finished the game with 90 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Miller added 58 yards on the ground, while Deaver ended up with 49 yards rushing. Tidwell finished with 97 passing yards. Benson added 70 yards on three receptions. The Meek Tigers finish the season 8-4, making it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and will look to have another memorable season in 2022.

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