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Football: Prior Lake stops Woodbury in 6A playoffs

Ricardo Twinawe runs runs the ball in the first half of Friday's Class 6A tournament game at Prior Lake. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 2
Jake West winds up to pass during Friday's playoff game. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 2

The Woodbury football team trailed Prior Lake by just five points as it entered the second half of Friday's first-round Class 6A tournament game.

The Royals needed to connect on just one touchdown in the second half to take the lead in the road playoff game. But the Prior Lake defense managed to stop Woodbury's offense the entire half for a 19-12 victory that ended Woodbury’s season.

“They watched our film, they knew how to stop us,” senior Jalen Morrison said. “They knew what to do. Our guys gave it our all, but we just didn’t come out with enough to win the game. But I’m proud of my boys. I’ll forever be proud of my boys.”

Prior Lake was able to survive three fumbles in the second half that gave Woodbury the ball with opportunities to score points. But each time those drives stalled short of the end zone.

Head coach Andy Hill said the Royals were not able put together long enough drives to slow down the physical Prior Lake defense.

“We just couldn’t string together six, seven, eight plays,” Hill said. “When playing an aggressive, downhill defense you want them to play seven, eight, nine plays. They start to get a little winded, they aren’t quite as hard off the edge and aren’t shooting the gaps. We didn’t quite get into that rhythm in the second half.”

Morrison scored the first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run in Woodbury's second drive for a 6-0 lead.

Prior Lake scored both of its first-half touchdowns on long runs by Jordan Johnson. The running back scored on a 53-yard run in the first quarter and added another on a 69-yard rush in the second quarter. Alex Brennan also connected on a Lakers field goal in the first half.

The Royals trimmed the deficit to 17-12 when quarterback Jake West completed a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Coddon with less than two minutes remaining before halftime.

The only points scored in the second half were by Prior Lake on an intentional grounding penalty that was ruled a safety in the third quarter.

The loss ended the careers of a talented group of seniors that helped the Royals survive a three-loss start to the season. Woodbury entered the playoffs with a record of 4-4.  Hill said five or six of those seniors should have an opportunity to play Division 1 football next season.

“It’s sad to think they played their last games in a Woodbury uniform,” Hill said. “But they will move on to bigger and better things, and hopefully the guys behind them coming up will clear the mantle and move forward.”

The Royals had goals to advance further into the Class 6A tournament this season. But Prior Lake derailed those hopes on Friday, and the Lakers will next play at Blaine in the second round of the playoffs in a week on Nov. 4.

“Everybody wants to go win the championship. That’s what we wanted,” Morrison said. “We took it one game at a time and everything, but they came out ready to play, and they beat us.”

Woodbury wrapped up the season with a record of 4-5. 

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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