FOOTBALL: Magnolia WR Woods is The Courier’s Player of the Week
MAGNOLIA - On the drive west toward Magnolia High School on Farm to Market Road 1488, dust and the seasonal lovebugs flutter through the air as thick brush covers the landscape to the left and orange and white barrels and heavy machinery clutter the scene on the right.
There’s plenty of construction going on in front of the school, as well as behind the chain-link fences that confine Bulldog Stadium. After losing its opening game against A&M Consolidated on Friday at home, Magnolia football coach Sterling Doty knows his team still has some work to do.
Strolling up the entrance of Alan R. Meeks Fieldhouse reveals several rows of paw prints, emblazoned with the names and numbers of varsity players. The last one on the far right says “Woods” with the number 8. When the offseason comes, it will be covered with maroon paint once again, ready to embrace its next entry.
But for now, the mural represents perhaps the most lethal offensive threat the program has ever seen.
Woods had a standout performance in the 52-47 loss to Consol with nine catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns (34, 44, 30 and 61 yards, respectively). He collected 330 all-purpose yards and also scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“We like to just pick up the tempo, and we just do what we do and go fast, get [the defense] really tired, and just go deep on them,” Woods said. “They were moving me around, just trying to find different ways to get me the ball.”
Woods was selected as The Courier’s Player of the Week with 51 percent of the votes in an online poll, beating out Caney Creek quarterback Julian Hernandez (18 percent), Magnolia West running back Preston Deming (12.5 percent), New Caney quarterback Jordan Cooper (11.8 percent) and Splendora running back Evan Nichols (6.7 percent).
“With Mike, it just shows you all the hard work he’s put in,” Doty said. “Year round, he’s got one of the best work ethics of any kid that I’ve been around. He’s a tireless worker here, and then he’ll go and train some more. He didn’t miss a summer workout, and he was here every single day. When you do that, you give yourself an opportunity. Then you combine it with the God-given talent that he’s got – it’s a deadly combination.”
Woods, a three-star recruit who has been committed to SMU since February, is no stranger to posting eye-popping numbers. As a junior, the Bulldogs’ dynamic playmaker posted seven 100-yards games and scored multiple touchdowns in seven contests as well. Woods finished last year with 75 catches for 1,456 yards and 21 touchdowns – numbers that garnered him District 20-5A Offensive Player of the Year honors.
His performance on Friday was the second-highest yardage total for his prep career, just short of the 291 yards he accounted for against Tomball last season. With the threat of running back Anthony Johnson (139 yards) and a seemingly-flawless chemistry with new quarterback Reese Mason, Woods and the rest of the Magnolia offense looked to be in good shape.
“It was good,” Woods said of the performance. “We picked up right where we left off last season. We’ve been working all summer on our chemistry and stuff, and [Mason] is able to continue the play and roll out and buy more time so I can move around.”
The Bulldogs will have another tough challenge this week, facing off against a Katy Taylor team that will be playing its first game of the season. Magnolia will travel to Rhodes Stadium this time around after losing to the Mustangs 51-28 at home last September.
Taylor finished last season with a 9-3 overall record. The Mustangs have three-star running back Ean Beek in the backfield (235 yards vs. Magnolia last year) and four-star defensive end Max Wright (Texas A&M commit) on the other side of the ball.
“Coach (Trey) Hermann and his staff do a great job down there,” Doty said. “From a 9-3 football team, they’re returning a lot of good players – quite a few on the defensive side of the ball, and then a dynamic running back, and a big, big, physical, tough-nosed offensive line. … We’ve got a big task ahead of us, and we’re looking forward to the challenge and the journey through this week.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK VOTING
1. Michael Woods, WR, Magnolia - 51 percent
2. Julian Hernandez, QB, Caney Creek - 18 percent
3. Preston Deming, RB, Magnolia West - 12.5 percent
4. Jordan Cooper, QB, New Caney - 11.8 percent
5. Evan Nichols, RB, Splendora - 6.7 percent