The two squads do indeed see their annual contests as a rivalry, and the Bulldogs got the best of the Rovers in their first meeting of 2000, 4-0 in a Portage County League National Division matchup on Thursday.
"This was a big win for us," said Woodridge coach Dave Cogdeill. "We have had trouble in the past here, and the guys have been real excited to come here and take care of business."
The meaning of the game was not lost on Rootstown's side, either.
"We have built a rivalry based on games past," said Rootstown coach Sean Wardell.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in getting things going. A mere 56 seconds into the contest, Marco Hilj passed ahead to David Cogdeill (2 goals, 2 assists), who put the ball in the back of the net.
The Rover defense started to hold a bit, but the Bulldogs weren't done scoring.
Kyle Otto connected off a pass from David Cogdeill, and Woodridge suddenly found itself with a 2-0 lead. The pair of David Cogdeill and Otto came through again, as this time it was Otto who served up the assist on Cogdeill's second goal of the game.
The second half started much like the first ended. Chris Nauer got a pass from David Cogdeill and hit a beautiful crossing shot that beat the Rootstown goalkeeper.
Goalkeeper Travis Carney, who is recovering from an injury, watched the first half from the sidelines but replaced Matt Motz in goal for the second half, and brightened Rover spirits.
"We didn't get the outcome we wanted," said Wardell. "But we know that we are back now. We have our injured players back on the field, and we have another chance at these guys."
The Woodridge defense then clamped down like a vise on the Rootstown attack. Despite an increase in offensive pressure by the Rovers, Woodridge allowed Rootstown to get off just one shot on goal in the entire second half.
"Our defense has just been great all year," said Cogdeill. "That is something we talked about, that being behind they would step up the pressure, but we were able to move the ball upfield and really played well."
The win keeps the Bulldogs undefeated in PCL play (5-0) and improves their overall record to 6-1 on the season.
The game did start to get physical in the second half, with each team having a player receive a yellow card, but it was just another chapter in the book of the Bulldog-Rover rivalry.
"It was just another Woodridge-Rootstown game," said Cogdeill. "It doesn't matter if we play them here or at our place, the games are always tough and very physical."
Woodridge 4, Rootstown 0
First Half _ 1. (W) David Cogdeill (Marco Hilj); 2. (W) Kyle Otto (D. Cogdeill); 3. (W) D. Cogdeill (Otto).
Second Half _ 4. (W) Chris Nauer (D. Cogdeill).
Shots on Goal _ Woodridge, 13-9.
Corner Kicks _ Rootstown, 1-0.
Goalkeepers/Saves _ (W) Tony Boetto/1; (R) Matt Motz/1, Travis