Wild ending separates similar teams

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2011 - 12:03 AM

White Bear Lake outscored Woodbury 18-14 in the fourth quarter, winning on a late field goal by Chris Xiong.

Coming into the Friday matchup, the Woodbury and White Bear Lake football teams were rife with similarities. The teams -- which had matching records in 2010 -- both entered the game at 3-1, with the only loss for each team coming against Stillwater. The Bears had scored 83 points in the past two games; the Royals racked up 84.

The teams then showed they had another likeness: a major affinity for drama. They combined for five scores in the final six minutes, and there were four possession changes in the final two minutes. When the final buzzer sounded, the Bears were the ones who made the late-game magic count, coming away with the 24-21 victory.

"This is definitely the craziest game I've ever played in," said White Bear Lake junior running back Nick Truen, who scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. "We're all brothers and our team is really strong."

With Woodbury up 7-6 in the fourth, after a third-quarter botched extra-point attempt by the Bears, the Royals padded the lead with a touchdown with just less than seven minutes remaining. That's when things got crazy.

Truen returned a kickoff 80 yards, and the Bears succeeded on a two-point conversion to tie the score at 14. But on White Bear Lake's kickoff, Royals junior running back Quran Al-Hameed gave his team the lead right back with a 92-yard return for a touchdown. The Bears promptly marched the ball back down the field, stringing together several big plays that they lacked earlier in the night and scoring once more on a 7-yard run by Truen.

Woodbury's second play after Truen's touchdown was a fumble recovered by the Bears. Then White Bear Lake quarterback Eric Gebeke threw an interception. Then Royals quarterback Sawyer Moon threw his own pick on the next play, giving the Bears the ball one more time, inside the 10 with 31 seconds remaining.

After Chris Xiong -- who had missed the extra point earlier -- put the field goal through the uprights, the Bears sideline erupted onto the field in a sea of black and orange.

"It wasn't just me, it was the whole team behind me," Xiong said. "It was an amazing team effort."

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