Howland tops Toledo Waite 42-6 to end 3-game skid
HOWLAND — On a hot Saturday afternoon, where the crowd wasn’t as loud as a normal Friday night tilt, Howland football coach Steve Boyle stressed that his team needed to get started early and bring their own energy.
The Tigers (2-3) answered the call against Toledo Waite, scoring 35 first-half points en route to a 42-6 victory for their second win of the season.
“It was just a great job by all of our players because they came together as a team,” Boyle said. “We had some guys step up, especially on the offensive line, and our middle linebacker Ethan Snyder did a great job for us. It was a team victory and I’m just glad they all came together and worked hard today.”
Howland got started early and never looked back as it forced a fumble on Waite’s first play from scrimmage, and senior running back Matt Woomer found the end zone shortly after from three yards out for his first of four touchdown runs.
“We talked about it all week,” Boyle said. “Playing on a Saturday at 1 o’clock is a little different than a Friday night. But the guys responded and we prepared for it all week and they took that preparation and met it with some opportunity and did a great job.”
The Howland defense kept the momentum alive by coming up with a stop on 4th down on the next drive, and senior running back Luca Massucci capped off the first quarter with a 36-yard run.
Sophomore quarterback John Perry then made his only completion of the game to senior tight end Gabe Badea for a 32 yard gain that put the Tigers offense in scoring position.
“It was nice to see us string together a few big plays because that’s one thing that we’ve been trying to do,” Boyle said. “We obviously don’t want to stall out when we get in the red zone and they did a great job of that today, pushing all the way through and get the ball into the end zone.”
Just after Badea’s catch, Massucci found the end zone on a quick-snapped quarterback sneak, but officials threw a flag for a false start to bring it back.
It didn’t matter though as Woomer punched it in from 5 yards out a few plays later.
“My o-line did great today, it’s all them all the time,” Woomer said about what led to his success on the ground. “Other than that we just played great today.”
The defense gave the ball right back to the offense moments later after a slew of penalties and a bad punt allowed the Tigers to take over on the eight yard line. Woomer capped off the short drive with a three-yard run.
After Woomer scampered for a 32-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the day, Snyder finished off the 29 point second quarter for the Tigers when he sacked Toledo Waite quarterback Steven Pittman in the end zone.
Howland went into the locker room with a 35-0 lead.
“It felt good,” Woomer said. “After the three close losses, it was good to bounce back and get a win under our belt.”
Howland’s scoring barrage concluded early in the third quarter when Massucci broke out for the longest run of the day, an 80-yard scamper to pay dirt that put the Tigers ahead 42-0.
Massucci finished the game with a team-high 136 rushing yards on just six attempts.
Woomer finished with 84 yards on 14 attempts.
Woomer had 464 rushing yards heading into Saturday’s matchup and continued his strong season.
“He’s just a great football player and he’s got a very high football IQ,” Boyle said. “He’s gelling really well with the offensive line and timing everything up and using his blockers. But it really comes back to the offensive line doing a great job.”
After losing their past three games, the Tigers were hoping to improve on Saturday and put a complete game together. With a safety, a blocked punt for a touchdown, multiple touchdowns on the ground and an overall stout performance on the defensive side, Woomer thought they did just that.
Now, they are just hoping to build on it moving forward.
“It’s big for us,” Woomer said. “We’ve been working hard to get all three phases under control and bring home a win for the crowd. So next week, we’re gonna try to get back to .500 and go from there.”
The Tigers will turn around and travel to West Branch next week to take on the undefeated Warriors.