Deerfield sophomore running back and linebacker Luke Woodson fell in love with football 10 years ago. His brother, senior wide receiver and linebacker Cole Woodson, played soccer in his younger years.
As Luke Woodson was approaching high school, he persuaded Cole Woodson to try football, and the two have pushed each other to get better ever since.
“He got me to give it a try,” Cole Woodson said. “We practice together on Saturdays and Sundays.”
The Woodson brothers played key roles in the Warriors’ 23-20 victory against Vernon Hills on Friday in Deerfield. The win was not secured until 40 seconds remained.
Deerfield (5-2, 2-1 Central Suburban North) became eligible for the state playoffs, and coach Steve Winiecki said the Warriors’ strength of schedule practically guarantees that Deerfield will play a 10th game.
The Woodson brothers helped put Deerfield on the board first when Cole Woodson drilled a 28-yard field goal with 35 seconds left in the first quarter. Luke Woodson was the holder.
“We work on it all the time,” Luke Woodson said.
“I have a soccer background, so kicking is natural,” Cole Woodson added.
Luke Woodson intercepted a pass earlier in the game, but the Warriors went three-and-out. When Vernon Hills (4-3, 1-2) fumbled on a punt, Luke Woodson recovered the ball at the Cougars’ 13-yard line to set up his brother’s field goal.
Deerfield extended its lead to 10-0 on a 6-yard run by quarterback Ryan Nagelbach with just over seven minutes left in the half. Luke Woodson made it 16-0 on a 2-yard run six minutes later.
Vernon Hills narrowed the lead to 16-13 in the third quarter before Nagelbach threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Alex Cohan for a 23-13 lead midway through the fourth. Vernon Hills made it 23-20 two minutes later.
The Warriors ended the Cougars’ final drive with a fourth-down stop on the Deerfield 25-yard line with 40 seconds remaining.
The Warriors will travel to Highland Park (4-3, 3-0) on Friday to play the rival Giants.
Steve Sadin is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.