Sometimes, there’s crying in football. And on Saturday, senior Taylor Woods was among the Rams with tears flowing after Havelock beat Concord 21-13 to win its third consecutive state 3A championship.
“It was very emotional,” he said. “Right when it hit zero, I just started crying. I was running down the middle of the field just crying.
“It’s once in a lifetime to do a three-peat. It’s crazy. We left a legacy, but not really a legacy. That’s a dynasty right there. I’m just happy that we gave back to the community another state championship.”
Woods had his typical all-around game for the Rams in the state championship game. The two-way starter caught three passes for 25 yards and had two rushes for eight yards on offense. Playing safety in the secondary of the Havelock defense, Woods totaled nine tackles and had a pass breakup.
He credited the team’s workouts for helping him play on both sides of the ball and for helping the Rams win another state championship.
“We didn’t do ‘Black Reign’ at 6 in the morning for nothing,” he said. “That really helped us a lot. Why make it to the state championship and lose. We wanted to finish this year winning it, and we did.”
But, it didn’t look promising for the Rams early, as they fell behind Concord 10-0 early in the second quarter.
“In the first half, we fought through a lot of adversity, but we didn’t get our heads down or anything,” Woods said. “We just fought through it and came out with a win.”
Woods made a key play midway through the second quarter as the Rams fought to grab the momentum from the Spiders. Leading 10-7, Concord drove to the Havelock 31-yard line and faced a fourth-and-8. Quarterback Keenan Black tried to throw a quick seam route to tight end Drew Yoos over the middle, but Taylor Woods batted the ball away, stopping the drive and getting the ball back into Havelock’s hands.
“Our coaches were telling us to check the tight end,” Woods said. “He released, and I saw it at the last minute and I came down and swatted the ball out of his hands. I played through his hands. That was a big moment. Just hearing the crowd cheering, that really hyped me up.”
Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said Woods is the team’s only regular two-way starter on offense and defense.
“He’s started both ways for us since he was a sophomore,” Bryant said. “He’s a heck of a football player, and he’s all heart. He did a heck of a job making some catches today and making some key blocks. His key block on a linebacker sprung Derrell (Scott) on that 96-yard touchdown. He’s a heck of a player and a heck of a young man. I feel blessed to have been the coach of him and of all the seniors.”
Now that the season is over, Woods plans to continue working out as he mulls a handful of college football offers. But no matter the future, he’ll always have those three state championships.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve been here four years. We got beat in the eastern finals my freshman year, but my sophomore year, we won, and my junior year, we won again, and now this year, we won again. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, knowing that it’s a three-peat.”