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Stillwater denies Woodbury its first win

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Woodbury quarterback Sawyer Moon runs Friday against Stillwater. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker2 / 3
Royals players congratulate running back Junius Wilson after a touchdown run. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker3 / 3

STILLWATER - The Andy Hill era started off with a bang.

Down 7-0 early in the first quarter against the Ponies, Woodbury found the end zone twice in two possessions, one of which stemmed from an onside kickoff recovery.

The end wasn't as thrilling for the Royals, who lost 27-20 in a game steeped in drama; it was the first game for Woodbury against its former head coach Beau LaBore, who now leads Stillwater.

Hill absorbed the blame for the loss - his first for the Royals as head coach after coaching six years in Virginia.

The critical moment, he said, was "me making a very bad call."

"That's the biggest difference," he said.

He was referring to a two-point conversion attempt that followed a 12-yard Joe Wood touchdown run. The score put Woodbury one point back at 20-21.

The Royals got stuck on the two-point conversion attempt, a situation Hill said left his players "behind the eight ball."

Stillwater extended the lead in the fourth quarter on a 2nd-and-14 passing touchdown.

"We didn't play with as much passion" as hoped, Hill said after the game. "We're not mentally tough yet."

LaBore said that while he was able to block out pressures of facing his old team in the months leading up to Friday's game, it became "something I thought about."

"I focused on the task at hand and kept it from my kids," he said.

Waiting to greet family and friends following his first win for the Ponies, LaBore said he was happy for Woodbury.

"They played their tails off," he said. "We knew it would be a dogfight."

The Suburban East Conference loss starts the Royals off at 0-1. They'll go in search of their first win next week when Hastings comes to town.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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