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Woodbury football: Winter picked for All-Star game

Woodbury senior defensive end Ryan Winter was picked for the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game. Winter had 16 sacks last season.

This past fall, Woodbury senior Ryan Winter stood out on the football field. Last week he was rewarded for his efforts by being picked to play in the 40th annual Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game.

This past fall, Winter - a 6-foot, 3-inch, 235-pound defensive end - had his second-straight season with 16 sacks, giving him 32 sacks over the past two years. He'll now have a chance to suit up against the state's best players in the prestigious All-Star game on Saturday, June 29, at Husky Stadium on the campus of the St. Cloud State University.

"We're excited for him," Woodbury second-year head coach Andy Hill said. "I think it's really something he's earned over the last two years. He's arguably the most outstanding defensive lineman in our league."

The All-Star Football Game showcases the most outstanding senior players from the 2012 high school football season from across the state of Minnesota. Players and coaches participating represent 79 schools and 34 conferences and were selected by members of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association.

Winter is the 29th Woodbury High School football player selected to compete in the game. The first Royals player to play in the game was Mark Ritter in 1977.. The most recent Woodbury players to play in the game were Torsten Rotto, who played in the 2011 contest prior to suiting up for Stanford, along with Cooper Wahlo, Jr. and Mike Willett who were All-Stars in 2009. Other Royals to play in the game have included Phil Ayeni, Chauncey Charlson, Tony Holmes, Kyle Jepson and Nico Holmes.

"Ryan was the catalyst for a lot of big plays on defense," Hill said. "If he could get to the quarterback he could force a turnover or a big hit. One big play can kind of spark a team. That's what Ryan brought to us on the defensive side."

One of the biggest and strongest players on the Royals, Winter was also one of the top three fastest players on the team, according to Hill, along with running back Quaran Al-Hameed and defensive back Abiola Abodunde.

"The piece of his game that other teams really had to look out for was his ability to bring pressure off the edge," Hill said. "If you can get him one-on-one you're in a pretty good situation. It all came together when we moved him to defensive end (from linebacker as a sophomore)."

The All-Star training camp will be held for the second time at St. John's University from Sunday, June 23, to Saturday, June 29. The teams will travel from Collegeville to Husky Stadium on Saturday, June 29, to play the All-Star Game.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be the 40th in the current annual series and the 51st overall. For the third consecutive year, the game will feature the North All-Stars versus the South All-Stars. In the 2012 game, 2011 Metro Player of the Year Trey Heid of Lakeville North led the South All-Stars to a 33-21 victory over the North All-Stars at Husky Stadium.

The Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game was first played in 1945 and has been an annual event since 1974. The game was played in a North versus South format from 1945 through 1960 and from 1974 to 1979, a Metro versus Outstate format from 1980 to 2010 and back to a North versus South format 2011 to the present. Through the years, over 3,900 players and 400 coaches have participated in this game. A total of 73 players from the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game have gone on to play or coach in the National Football League, including new Chicago Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman.

The current North-South series is tied 1-1. The overall North-South series is tied 9-9-1 after 19 games.

In this year's game, Winter will suit up for the South team, which is coached by Andy Rostberg of Hutchinson. Winter will get a chance to go head-to-head against Osseo running back Bridgeport Tusler, who was the 2012 Mr. Football winner. Tussler will play college football at South Dakota State University.

Winter, who is a 4.0 student, has not yet picked where he will attend college.

"He's applied to some higher end academic schools," Hill said. "If he's admitted I think he'll likely pursue playing football there as well."

In all, a total of 29 All-State players will participate in the 2013 All-Star Game. This includes 16 players from the 2012 Associated Press All-State First Team, 11 players Second Team and two players from the 2012 9-Man All-State Team. There will be 14 players who participated in the 2012 Prep Bowl.

Also selected were University of Minnesota preferred walk-on recruit Chad Fahning (DeLaSalle); Princeton recruit Birk Olson (Monticello); Dartmouth recruits Danny McManus (St. Thomas Academy) and Charlie Miller (Totino-Grace); Montana recruit Noah Scarver (Minneapolis Washburn); North Dakota recruit Oscar Opara (De LaSalle); North Dakota State recruit Jacob Peterson (St. Cloud Tech); Northern Iowa recruit Jordan Hein (Perham); South Dakota recruit Riley Donovan (Kasson-Mantorville); South Dakota State recruit Jake Wieneke (Maple Grove) and Western Illinois recruit Mick Nelson (Mounds View).