There’s hope. But a win Friday, Oct. 18 at Pella Christian would have made the playoffs a sure thing for Woodward-Granger football. Now the Hawks must go on another week and pray for the chips to fall in their favor to flip the calendar for the postseason.

After trouncing Pleasantville for homecoming, the Hawks traveled to Pella with aims of locking down the District 7 title. Instead, W-G walked away with a 14-12 loss looming over the season and held to No. 2 in the district standings.

Pella got off to a strong start with two touchdowns from the dynamic backfield of Jase Amelse and Dan Jungling, putting the Eagles up 14-0 at halftime. The deficit at the break made it the third time this season the Hawks were down at least two possessions. Not since the three-touchdown comeback against Ogden has the team pulled away with the W.

Despite the odds stacked against the Hawks, senior Bryce Achenbach kept the game alive with a big-time 17 yard interception return in the third quarter, which led to Tate Lettow’s 14th touchdown of the season.

Achenbach’s name was called again in the last two minutes of the game as Reese Jamison connected with his favorite target in the end zone to bring the game within a two-point try. Unable to cross the goal line to tie the game with under 90 seconds remaining, that was all she wrote for the Hawks’ road trip. The damage done by Pella’s ground game in the first half stood in the way as the Eagles put 227 rushing yards on the stat sheet, the most allowed by Woodward all season.

Woodward’s running attack wasn’t far behind as Lettow posted 129 yards while Kade Polich came in for 58 yards of relief. Polich’s name also boomed through the stadium speakers as he notched two sacks, bringing his season total to five.

The two-point loss is an improvement on the 45-22 loss the team suffered at Hawk Stadium in 2018, which knocked the Hawks out of postseason contention. Now the team clings to a couple of options to continue its season into November, all hinging on a win over Colfax-Mingo on Friday, Oct. 25.

W-G can still sit atop of the district in a 3-way tie if Interstate 35 defeats Pella Christian as all teams would hold a 4-1 district record. The automatic bid as a district winner would default to the bets RPI.

Should Pella Christian automatically win the district, Woodward’s hopes rely entirely on receiving one of the eight Class 1A at-large bids based on RPI. Heading into Week 8, the Hawks were No. 20 and the fourth team out of the 16-team field.