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Football: Royals upset Raptors in regular season finale

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Woodbury's Ricardo Twinawe breaks away from the East Ridge defense for a big game in the first quarter. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 4
Dominik London rushes the ball in his first game back from an ankle injury he suffered earlier this year. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)3 / 4
Woodbury's Jeremiah Coddon tries to find space after catching a pass in Wednesday's game against East Ridge. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)4 / 4

It has been an up-and-down season for the Woodbury football team.

And on Wednesday it was up.

The Royals’ offense scored on its first three offensive possessions and did not look back in a 47-25 victory over rival East Ridge. After starting the season with three consecutive losses, it was no surprise that the Royals were excited to wrap up the regular season with a win against the state's fourth-ranked team in Class 6A.

“Definitely by far my favorite game of the year,” said Woodbury's Ricardo Twinawe after scoring three touchdowns.

The Royals defense did not allow East Ridge to gain a first down on the first three drives of the game. Woodbury led 20-7 at the end of the first quarter and kept it there until halftime. East Ridge cut the score to 20-14 on a 44-yard touchdown run by Dominik London in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Raptors would get to tying the game.

Twinawe led the Royals' offense thanks to a few big plays. He rushed for a 76-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and he also scored on a 52-yard reception from quarterback Jake West in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Andy Hill said the senior’s big night shows just how explosive Woodbury's playmakers can be.

“He hit a couple of seams,” Hill said. “He ran with a purpose, not just to get a first down but to cut back and go.”

Woodbury’s defense was able to keep the East Ridge running attack in check for most of the night. The offense included star running back London, who was back for his first game since suffering an ankle sprain against Cretin-Derham Hall on Sept. 30.

East Ridge head coach Dan Fritze credited the Royals for slowing down their often strong run game.

“They are really big and physical, they’re just tough to move the ball on,” Fritze said. “We ended up spreading the ball out. We probably should have done that earlier. We just didn’t play our best.”

Jeremiah Coddon caught two touchdown passes for the Royals, and Jalen Morrison also rushed for two touchdowns.

Tight end Zach Bennett led East Ridge by scoring on two touchdown receptions. East Ridge kicker Grant Ryerse also delivered a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Wednesday’s win was the first for Woodbury against East Ridge since 2011 when the Royals defeated the Raptors 35-34 in overtime. Hill said the Woodbury players were motivated to end the streak this year.

“Our guys wanted this,” Hill said. “These kids grew up with these East Ridge kids. They know them, and they’ve beaten us for four straight years.”

East Ridge dropped to a record of 6-2 on the season with the loss. Fritze said all the Raptors can do now is start preparing for the Class 6A tournament.

“I just know we need to come back and work. That’s all we can do,” Fritze said. “There is nothing else to focus on.”

The Royals now have some momentum heading into the playoffs after winning four of their past five games to end the year with a 4-4 record. Their confidence has steadily risen since the three-loss streak to start the season.

“Hopefully we can continue this into the playoffs and make a deep run in state,” Twinawe said.

The Class 6A playoffs are scheduled to start on Oct. 28.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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