Woodbury football: Royals hoping for another upset tonight
On the sidelines in the fourth quarter last week, the phrase "shock the world" was bandied about by some Woodbury High School football players.
What they accomplished a few minutes later might not have done that exactly, but their win in the Section 4AAAAAA quarterfinals over Cretin-Derham Hall certainly raised some eyebrows.
The Royals topped the Raiders 21-14, a win that propelled them into territory that may have looked unlikely to some after a four-game regular-season losing streak.
That's all behind them now.
What lies ahead for Woodbury is, essentially, the great unknown.
The Royals travel tonight to Prior Lake for Round 2 of the section playoffs against a team that's largely unknown to them.
What is known: the Prior Lake Lakers possessed an 8-1 regular-season record and drew the top seed in Section 3AAAAAA. The Lakers, ranked No. 8 in the state, utilized a stable of bruising running backs to dominate Park of Cottage Grove in the quarterfinals, winning 47-7.
Woodbury head coach Andy Hill told the Bulletin his defense will have to contain those rushers and minimize mistakes. The formula worked well against Cretin, where Woodbury put clamped down on standout running back James Onwualu and won the turnover battle.
"For us to be successful, we will have to be fundamentally sound and tackle well," Hill said. "They won't go down easily. And on offense we have to be crisp in knowing our assignments and playing fast. "
Woodbury found success against Cretin by leaning hard on quarterback Sawyer Moon, who led the Royals not just in passing, but rushing yards as well. Moon took advantage of running opportunities and was able to find receivers Reid Peters and Tucker Benjamin for key connections through the air.
Woodbury will also need strong play again on defense. Standout players from the Cretin game included Ryan Winter, who recorded two sacks, Abioloa Abodunde, who grabbed an interception and Geno DeMike, who forced a critical fumble.
Tonight's game is set for 7 p.m. at Prior Lake High School.