Spartans hold off Indians to win high-scoring CL clash

Start’s Woodward rushes for 288 yards in victory

Start running back Deshawn Woodward runs had 288 yards on 26 rushes for the victorious Spartans.
Start running back Deshawn Woodward runs had 288 yards on 26 rushes for the victorious Spartans.

A slow start by two City League rivals led to a fast and furious offensive finish on Thursday night.

Start proved to have more offense than Waite, and it resulted in the Spartans coming away with a 42-28 victory over the Indians.

Spartans running back Deshawn Woodward provided plenty of offensive input — rushing for a career-high 288 yards on 26 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run after halftime when the two teams combined for 57 points in the second half.

Related photo gallery: Waite at Start

Woodward, who averaged 11 yards per carry, kept many of the Spartans' scoring drives alive with his long gainers.

"It was amazing," said Woodward, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior. "I felt good. My teammates helped me through it. Without their blocks I wouldn't have gotten the yards."

Start quarterback Dexter Johnson led the Spartans (3-4, 2-0 CL) on four scoring drivings, capping two of them with 11-yard touchdown runs and completing a four-yard touchdown pass to Matt Mangum for another.

Start's defense came away with two fumble recoveries and turned them into touchdowns, including a 46-yard fumble return for a TD by Rashaad Lewis to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead with 10:39 left in the opening quarter.

Start took a 7-6 advantage into halftime.

"It was an ugly game," Start coach Tyson Harder said. "Offensively, we played real well in the second half.

"Our kids played hard, but I give credit to Waite. They were down and just kept fighting."

Waite (0-7, 0-2) trailed 28-6 before rallying back in the second half and eventually cut Start's lead to 34-28 with two quick scores in the fourth quarter.

Waite quarterback Johnny Douanglee connected on touchdown completions of 18 and 42 yards to Cyrron Barringer to make the game interesting down the stretch.

However, the Spartans put the ball in Johnson's and Woodward's hands to help close out the contest.

Johnson scored on an 11-yard keeper around right end with 4:53 remaining to help the Spartans counter the Indians' late scores midway through the fourth quarter.

Douanglee had guided the Indians on a 10-play, 95-yard scoring drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Temple with four seconds left in the opening quarter for the first scoring drive of the night. Temple also scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Contact Donald Emmon at:, 419-724-6302 or on witter @DemmonsBlade.