Woodbury football: Royals steamroll rival Park 44-7 in section openerThere weren’t many surprises in the Section 4AAAAA quarterfinal as the second-seeded Woodbury Royals steamrolled rival Park, the seventh seed in the seven-team section, 44-7 on Tuesday, Oct. 25, under the lights of Woodbury’s Royals Stadium.
By: Patrick Johnson and Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
There weren’t many surprises in the Section 4AAAAA quarterfinal as the second-seeded Woodbury Royals steamrolled rival Park, the seventh seed in the seven-team section, 44-7 on Tuesday, Oct. 25, under the lights of Woodbury’s Royals Stadium.
Up 21-7 at the half, Woodbury scored 20 points in the third quarter to put the game on ice and advance to the semifinal. The Royals (6-3) will now play host to third-seeded Eagan, which beat six seed Minneapolis South 50-0 in the playoff opener, on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are 5-4 on the year.
The game represented Andy Hill’s first playoff win as head coach of the Royals program. He acknowledged the wide margin of victory, but said it was critical for Woodbury to stay on the throttle.
“We have to come out strong in the playoffs,” Hill said. “In the playoffs, there’s always that fear of whoever falls behind, that this might be it.”
He and his staff immediately turned their attention to Eagan. Tuesday’s win, however, offered some opportunity as a tune-up for the game, he said.
“We got to work on some things that I hope to refine for Saturday,” the coach said.
The Park win also showed fans more unconventional kicking scenarios – two games after Hill opted to kick field goals against Cretin-Derham Hall in punting situations where Woodbury was deep in its own zone. On Tuesday, the kicking team was brought out for another unique set: a third-down play.
Hill said the kick – a 48-yard boot that gave Woodbury a 37-point lead and triggered running time – was a situational opportunity.
“It was us working on something specific,” Hill said. “We want to set up in case we need to do this in a game.”
In the win over Park, Woodbury took advantage of the big play.
With a 21-7 lead starting the second half, Woodbury junior quarterback Sawyer Moon hit senior receiver Ryan Fritze with a 68 yard catch-and-run down to the Wolfpack’s 6-yard line. Three plays later, Woodbury junior running back Quaran Al-Hameed punched in his third of four touchdowns in the game from the 2-yard line to put Woodbury up 28-7 with 9:09 left in the third quarter, dashing any hopes Park had of an upset.
In the first half, the Royals blocked two punts and turned them into touchdowns to go ahead 14-0. Then, after recovering a Park fumble, Woodbury went up 21-0 with 10:36 remaining in the first half.
Park (0-9) showed life in the middle of the second quarter, however.
On the heels of a Woodbury fumble, recovered by Park’s Jordan Reeves on the Wolfpack’s own 39 yard line, Park junior running back Dylan Smallidge broke off a 44-yard touchdown run, turning the corner and sprinting down the left sideline.
After the Wolfpack forced a Woodbury three-and-out, the Wolfpack drove down to the Royals’ 34-yard line. However, Woodbury defensive back Andrew Norlander picked off a Kyle Fritz pass to end the threat and the two teams went into the locker rooms with a 21-7 game.
In the second half, though, it was all Woodbury, which put in its reserves midway through the fourth quarter after building a 44-7 lead, capped by a 48-yard field goal by Royals’ kicker Trevor Lo.
Al-Hameed had 12 carries for 124 yards and four touchdowns and Moon completed 11 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 42 yards to lead the Royals in the game. Also, senior tight end Jordan Voit caught five passes, including two touchdowns.
Despite the loss, Park junior running back Dylan Smallidge was a beast for the Wolfpack, running 21 times for 137 yards and a touchdown in the game.
Park’s season ends with a 20-game losing streak. The Wolfpack’s last win was Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, 27-25 over East Ridge. The Wolfpack is now 3-34 since the start of 2008 season.
Park must now say good-bye to 18 seniors, including Fritz, who was second in the Suburban East Conference in passing yards, D’Monte Farley, who was third in the SEC in receiving yards and a key player in the Wolfpack’s defensive backfield, and team captain and defensive tackle LaVonte Hardie.
See the full story and additional photos in the Nov. 2 issue of the Bulletin