The younger brother of a Woodside player recently died after being in a coma for several weeks, and the team, which was close to the boy, attended the funeral as a group earlier this week. The Wildcats dedicated the victory to the young man, and wild celebration ensued.
"Going into it, we had some cobwebs from all the things this week," Woodside coach Steve Nicolopulos said. "We shook it off and did what we needed to do."
The Wildcats (6-1 overall, 4-0 PAL Bay), who kept pace with Menlo-Atherton on top of the PAL Bay standings, first did what they needed to do 41/2 minutes into the game when running back Lopeti Taufoou pulled down a 30-yard scoring pass from Matt Pelesasa.
Then Woodside's Jordan Carr made a little personal history when South City quarterback Oceanic Latu, attempting to throw a slant pass out to the tailback, bounced the ball off of the halfback's head into Carr's arms. With nothing but daylight ahead of him, the burly defensive lineman rumbled 40 yards for a touchdown on his first career interception.
"I thought I was (going to score)," Carr said. "I knew if I kept running hard, no one would catch me."
Nicolopulos said the play loosened his team up, giving it confidence it would hold throughout the game.
"That was a big spark," he said. "We were up by one touchdown at the time. It took the wind out of their sails and boosted ours."
Taufoou tallied another score on the Wildcats' next possession on an 11-yard run, then Zack Test pulled down a 23-yard pass from Pelesasa 5:18 before the half to make it 28-0. Latu added a 10-yard keeper for a score 16 seconds before the break.
The homecoming parade at halftime was about the only joy for South City fans.
"We lost our center a couple of weeks ago and have been playing with a makeshift line," South City coach Frank Moro said. "(Woodside) is possibly the best team in the league, and in this league you can't give anything you have to be perfect."
Pelesasa scored the game's final touchdown with 6:39 left in the third quarter on an 11-yard keeper. The quarterback completed 11 of his 12 passes for 173 yards.
South San Francisco (2-5, 1-4) was led by John-Mark Henderson's 54 yards rushing on 15 carries.