By Hunter Nusz

Two seconds left in the game, the score was tied, and Cotton Collins, better known as C.J., lined up to attempt the game-winning kick. “I’ve got to tune out everything in my head, complete zero, just me, the ball, and the holder,” said Collins, talking about what was going through his head. His kick went right down the middle and would have been good from a further distance. The kick gave the Blue Raiders the 17-14 road win over the Lake Forest Spartans. 

The kick ended what was a great night for the Blue Raiders that almost got off to a disastrous start. The Spartans won the coin toss and received the ball first, and the opening kick was promptly taken back for a touchdown, however, a flag was thrown so the Blue Raiders avoided starting behind early. Both teams’ offenses looked rusty as neither team could move the ball effectively. 

Woodbridge’s Traci Johnson runs 35 yards for his second touchdown of the night last Friday against Lake Forest. Photo by Hunter Nusz

The Blue Raiders struck first after they recovered a fumble and started the drive deep in Spartan territory. Traci Johnson scored on a six-yard touchdown run and then pounded in the ball again for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0 Blue Raiders. That would be the only scoring in the first half as the Spartans just could not move the ball and the Blue Raiders were pinned down inside their own five-yard line twice in the second quarter. The halftime score was just 8-0 in favor of Woodbridge. 

The third quarter was similar to the second. The Spartans took advantage of a Blue Raiders’ muffed punt, getting great field position and then scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ne’Von Pierce to Darius Miller, the two-point try failed and the score was now 8-6 in favor of Woodbridge. 

The fourth quarter is when things got fun. The Blue Raiders, hanging onto the two-point lead, scored again when Traci Johnson burst through a gap in the line and ran alone on a 35-yard touchdown run, the two-point attempt failed though, so it was still a one-score game, 14-6. The Spartans finally got a good drive and punched in a one-yard run by Ayden Young, and then converted the two-point attempt making it a tie game with about seven minutes left. 

The Blue Raiders then ran the ball effectively, gaining yards and killing clock, most if not all the runs were courtesy of Johnson. The ground and pound offense got the Blue Raiders into the Spartans’ red zone and with two seconds left they took a time-out, and lined up for the 26-yard field goal. After Lake Forest took a time-out to attempt to ice the kicker, it was time, no more time-outs, it was now or never. The kick was right down the middle and the Blue Raiders’ bench went crazy and spilled out onto the field to congratulate C.J. 

“I’m mostly on the line, we rarely get chances like this so, this is like a dream come true to me,” said Collins. 

The Blue Raiders moved to 6-2 on the season and Lake Forest fell to 3-5.