The Woodland Wildcats (1-8, 0-6) fell to the East Paulding Raiders on Friday night by a score of 17-14.

Despite the low-scoring affair, both teams had opportunities to put up more points, but both had critical turnovers inside the 10-yard line. East Paulding returned the opening kickoff 90 yards to the house to take an early 7-0 lead. After a Woodland punt, East Paulding aggressively moved the ball down the field, but on a third and goal, Woodland’s Jayden Johnson caught a tipped pass and returned the ball 86 yards to the East Paulding 10-yard line.

Woodland would run four plays and move in the wrong direction. East Paulding would pick off the Woodland pass at the 9-yard line and take over. But the Woodland defense wasn’t done. It forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the East Paulding 5-yard line. A few plays later, Asa James would score from two yards out to make it a 7-6 ball game. Woodland would attempt a 2-point conversion, but fall just short.

East Paulding connected on a field goal to make it a 10-6 game at the half.

Woodland opened up the opening drive of the second half with a long, sustained drive that seemed destined to end in points. Asa James had the ball knocked loose inside the 5-yard line after a third effort move, and the Raiders recovered at their own 2-yard line.

Woodland had the opportunity to take a lead late in the game but would turn the ball over on downs on the East Paulding 9-yard line. The Wildcats grabbed their first lead of the night with 6:44 left in the game after blocking an East Paulding punt and recovering the ball at the Raider 3-yard line. Demarcus Williams would run the first play from scrimmage into the end zone to give Woodland its first lead with 6:44 left in the game. The Wildcats would convert the 2-point conversion to go up 14-10.

The East Paulding offense would find its groove on the ensuing drive and punch it in on a 3-yard touchdown run from Tyler Melton to go up 17-14 with 4:25 left in the contest. Woodland marched down the field, but ran out of time and was unable to convert a 4th down with just seven seconds left.

Woodland will play Kell next week in its regular-season finale with kickoff set for 7:30.