North Hills had trouble finding any space to run against the Woodland Hills defense Friday night.
And any time the Indians did break off a nice run, it seemed a yellow flag was on the field.
The Wolverines held the North Hills offense to zero points, four first downs and just 66 yards, while the Indians racked up 115 yards of penalties in Woodland Hills' 27-7 win in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA football playoffs.
"We worked on a good defensive scheme all week," said Woodland Hills senior defensive end Jawan Turner. "We played well as a team. It wasn't just me out there. It doesn't take one guy, it takes all 11 of us."
Turner was around the ball all game, recording three tackles for losses, disrupting numerous other plays and getting a few holding calls that negated Indians' gains. He also recovered a fumble that gave the Wolverines some breathing room early in the second half.
North Hills received the opening kickoff of the second half down, 7-0. On the second play of the drive, Turner picked up a Tyler Reddick fumble at the North Hills 30 and returned it to the 18. A personal foul by the Indians moved the ball inside the 10 and set up a Miles Sanders touchdown two plays later to make it 14-0. With the way the Woodland Hills defense was playing, that seemed to be all it would need.
But on Woodland Hills' next possession, DeQuan White had the ball knocked loose in the backfield, and North Hills' Corey Bopp picked it up at the Wolverines 26-yard line and returned it for a score to cut the deficit in half.
The Wolverines seemed to put North Hills away twice in the third quarter, but they were hurt by penalties.
After Bopp's touchdown, Dontae Broadus returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a score. However, a block in the back penalty on Woodland Hills brought the ball back inside the Wolverines 20-yard line.
Then, when North Hills regained possession after the Wolverines turned it over on downs, Chris David picked off a Brian Johnson pass at the Woodland Hills 37 and weaved his way to the end zone for a score. But again Woodland Hills was penalized on the play, this time for a personal foul inside the Indians 10-yard line. Woodland Hills finished the contest with nine penalties for 100 yards.
Woodland Hills would get points on this possession, as Jordan Potter booted a 45-yard field goal to make it 17-7. David's nullified touchdown was the third negated score of the game.
"We had some touchdowns called back, they had a touchdown called back, there were a lot of penalties and a lot of turnovers," Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. "It was a wild game."
The Wolverines turned to Khalil Harper and Sanders to run out the clock. Harper ran two end-around runs in the fourth quarter for 78 yards to help set up a touchdown and a field goal. Sanders totaled 72 yards on 10 carries in the second half and finished with a 120 yards on 18 carries.
"He's not a freshman, anymore," Novak said of Sanders. "He's a junior in football. He's aged over these 10 games."