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Woodbury football wins first sole Metro East sub district title with a brotherhood season

The Woodbury football players get together for a group picture after defeating Stillwater 33-7 and capturing the Royals first Suburban East Conference title in program history. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Zach Anderson shows his excitement after scoring a touchdown in Woodbury's 33-7 win over Stillwater. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Charlie Wilson tries to get around the Stillwater defense as Woodbury wins 33-7 on Wednesday night. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

Brotherhood.

Every player on the 2018 Woodbury football team has used that word to describe this team and this season.

Every season has its ups and downs, but the ability to stay together and work together as a team is what head coach Andy Hill likes to see.

When the football season started in the middle of August, Hill and the rest of the Woodbury football team had one main goal to achieve.

That goal was to be the sole winners of the Metro East sub district title.

The Royals had shared the title with teams in the past, but never had sole possession of the title in program history.

This Wednesday night, the 2018 Woodbury football team went down in history as they finished the regular season on top of the conference standings as the only team to win the Metro East sub district title this season.

"It's surreal," said senior defensive lineman Raphael Orubo. "We've been working towards this for the past two or three months and now that it's here I couldn't be more proud."

Looking back at the season, Hill said this team showed resilience and toughness in each game to finish the regular season with a 7-1 overall record and a 5-1 conference record.

After the Farmington game in week one, the coaching staff realized this team could score some points with a 49-28 final. The following week, that scored dwindled as Roseville gave the Royals their one and only loss in a 27-7 final.

After that game, Hill went into the locker room and told the team that their goal of winning the conference is still there. Even with this loss, Hill and the coaching staff believed they still controlled their own destiny.

That loss shifted the mentality and the work of this football team and it showed in week three when Woodbury traveled to Cretin-Derham Hall. The Royals came out with a 20-17 win against a team ranked in the top 10 at that time and the momentum carried into the 24-7 win against Mounds View.

"Our team never gives up on any possession or any game," said junior running back Brock Rinehart. "We fight until the final horn and I think that's why we've had this journey because our guys will fight until we earn the win."

At the halfway point of the season, Hill was happy with a 3-1 record but he knew some tough teams were ahead.

Woodbury had its homecoming against Anoka and won 28-18, which carried into the following week when the Royals won on the road 33-15 against White Bear Lake.

Then, the biggest game of the season showed up as East Ridge came to Woodbury for the in-town rivalry. It was also a big conference game since both teams were fighting for the top spot in the conference.

Woodbury pulled out the victory at home with a 20-17 overtime win on the leg of the Royals kicker Cade Keesling. The win against East Ridge meant more than just a football game for the Woodbury coaches and players.

"We always have [the East Ridge] game circles on our calendar," said senior running back Andrew Kraemer after the win against East Ridge. "To win this game for the past three seasons means a lot to me and the entire team."

Finally, the season came down to Wednesday night at Stillwater. Like Hill said after the Roseville loss, the Royals had control of their destiny.

Woodbury could win against Stillwater and be the sole champions of the sub district title. The Royals did just that with a 33-7 final.

"These players deserve this title because of the work they've put both on and off the field this season," Hill said. "The trophies will collect dust in the future, but the memories that these players share from this season will be with them for the rest of their lives. I couldn't be more proud of this team."

Obviously, the season isn't over for Woodbury as the Royals are preparing for the district playoffs in hopes of making the state tournament.

The conference will give this team not only a better seed in the bracket, but will also give the Royals momentum heading into the playoffs next week.

This Woodbury team will be put into the record books as the first team since this school opened in 1976 to be the sole winners of the Metro East sub district title.

"It's special, so special," said senior linebacker Kaiser Sund. "I'm just happy I get to share this title with this team because this team and this season has been special."

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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