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Football: Woodbury, East Ridge win homecoming games

Zach Zebrowski looks down the field for an open receiver in East Ridge's comeback win over Cretin-Derham Hall. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Zach Ames catches the ball in the back of the end zone for one of Woodbury's touchdowns. The Royals won over Anoka on Friday night. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Emmanuel Okeleye gets the hand off and tries to find the open lane. HE had two rushing touchdowns in East Ridge's comeback win over Cretin-Derham Hall. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

Friday night

Woodbury 28, Anoka 18

When the game went into halftime, Woodbury was trailing 10-7 to Anoka.

The atmosphere around the high school was a little down, but the Royals took those worries away when the second half started.

"We never lose confidence in ourselves," said senior Andrew Kraemer. "We might be down, but we know we can come back and get a win if we focus on one play at a time."

That's exactly what the Royals did and Zach Ames found the end zone after a 22-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter to get a 14-10 lead.

After that score, Woodbury never looked back. Kraemer had his own rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter as he ran for 97 yards including the 16-yard touchdown.

Kraemer' s gave Woodbury and two-possession lead, which made the players breathe a little easier. Jake Wenzel made sure to solidify the win as he ran in a 7-yard touchdown to make it a 28-18 win.

"It always great to get a win and I think we saw a lot of perservance in this game," Wenzel said. "We always fight until the final horn and that's what we did tonight."

Head coach Andy Hill knew the discussion at halftime was going to be simple. It was to get back to the original strategy for the evening.

That strategy was to pick a part Anoka's defense and take advantages of miscues. The Royals did that in the second half and that's what led to the success Woodbury had to eventually win on Friday night.

Even though the East Ridge rivalry game is coming up in two weeks, Hill is preparing for a road game against White Bear Lake on Friday, Oct. 5. He knows that road game could be tough if the players and coaches aren't prepared for everything, so the focus needs to be on next week's game.

"If we don't focus on the White Bear Lake game, then the East Ridge and Stillwater games might not mean as much to end the regular season," Hill said. "Next week will be a good game."

The Royals will finish out the season with three straight conference games, which can make or break their season heading into the playoffs. It can also make or break their goal at the start of the season, which is to win the conference title outright for the first time in school history.

It will be three hard fought weeks, but the Woodbury team thinks they have the confidence and momentum to keep the winning streak alive.

East Ridge 33, Cretin-Derham Hall 29

The Raptors were trailing 29-13 in the third quarter and the momentum was going towards the Raiders more and more until the fourth quarter came.

Then, it was all East Ridge.

The Raptors scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and with 22 seconds left in the game took a 33-29 lead as Zach Zebrowski found Cameron Ashford for a 21-yard touchdown.

Cretin-Derham Hall was facing a losing streak heading into Friday night as the Raiders lost to Woodbury a couple weeks ago and Blaine just this past week.

The first half of the game was up and down with two strong defenses keeping the score at 0-0 for the first quarter. The offenses couldn't convert fourth-down attempts and it led to the two teams starting their drives within the 10-yard line.

In the second quarter, the Raiders scored first with a field goal and a fumble recovery that was returned for a touchdown to make a 10-0 lead. The Raptors came back before the end of the half as Emmanuel Okeleye found the end zone from one yard out.

The third quarter was dominated by Cretin-Derham Hall as the Raiders scored three touchdowns to the Raptors' one touchdown by Okeleye. The game was three-fourths over and Cretin-Derham Hall was leading 29-13.

East Ridge made their comeback in the fourth quarter starting with a five-yard pass from Zebrowski to Simon Stark to make it a 29-19 lead for the Raiders. The Raptors continued the scoring with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Zebrowski to make it only a three-point lead for Cretin-Derham Hall.

Finally, with 22 seconds left in the game, Zebrowski found Ashford for the winning touchdown bringing all the Raptors fans and student section to their feet in the homecoming win.

The win on Friday night gives East Ridge a 4-1 record on the season and a 4-0 conference record. This puts the Raptors on top of the Suburban East Conference heading into three more games in the regular season.

The Raptors will travel to Mounds View on Friday, Oct. 5 for their next game. Then, they travel to Woodbury for the rivalry game on Friday, Oct. 12 before hosting Centennial on Wednesday, Oct. 17 to finish out the season.

Saturday night

Minneapolis Southwest 55, Academy Force 12

Academy Force had a tough time fighting off Minneapolis Southwest on Saturday afternoon as they lost 55-12. The loss brings the team’s record down to 0-6 this season.

Academy Force have two more regular season games left to seek its first win of the season. The team will have this upcoming weekend off and will return on Friday, Oct. 12 against Fridley. The last game will be on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at St. Paul Highland Park.

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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