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Football: Royals fall short in close game with Farmington

Woodbury's Artavias Taylor chases Farmington quarterback Alijah Moe during a home game on Friday, Sept. 1. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Drew Pearson turns the corner to score a Woodbury touchdown in the first quarter of a Friday, Sept. 1 home game against Farmington. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Woodbury football team knew there would be some challenges on Friday, Sept. 1 with an offense that returns just two starters from last season.

Yes, the Royals made some mistakes. But the offense also had a potential game winning drive as they pushed into Farmington territory with less than one minute left in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers needed a big play, and an interception by Nick Savisik helped the Tigers clinch a 22-20 victory in the season opener at Woodbury High School.

“I think we fought, that’s a really good team that we just fought against,” senior David Alston said. “It just came down to a few plays at the end, and they made them, and we didn’t.”

A young offense yielded some mistakes as Farmington took a 15-7 lead into halftime.

Farmington’s defense pushed through the offensive line for a safety early in the second quarter, and a few dropped passes stalled Woodbury drives. Farmington players also picked off two passes in the second half.

“Most of our mistakes were mental errors, not lining up right on offense and on defense when we gave up a score,” Woodbury head coach Andy Hill said. “Then we recovered. We were resilient, and we fought. That’s what I told them in the end, is that we learned that you guys can fight.”

The defense settled down to help the Royals get within two points in the second half. Farmington’s only second-half touchdown, a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alijah Moe to Adam Weed in the third quarter, was set up by a Weed interception that gave the Tigers the ball inside Woodbury territory.

With young players on defense, it took a few plays to get settled into varsity football.

“We had a lot of guys who were doing this for the first time,” Alston said. “I think we just got past some of the jitters. Once we settled in, it’s just like it’s been at practice for the past two weeks.”

Drew Pearson scored Woodbury’s first touchdown on a two-yard run late in the first quarter. Zach Ames also caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Christenson in the third quarter.

For Farmington, Brock Mogensen and Weed each caught touchdown passes, with Moe rushing 28 yards in the first half for a touchdown.

The Royals now will have the chance to look at the film from a regular season game for the first time this season. Hill said the Royals should see a lot of positives, but also a lot of first-time mistakes they hope to fix with practice and game experience.

“We’re going to see a lot of growth,” Hill said. “The mistakes we saw today are things that we’ll address and fix. But we can’t make the same mistakes in week two if we’re going to grow as a team.”

Woodbury is next scheduled to play at Roseville on Friday, Sept. 8.