A Woodbury team already lacking depth and with a loss on its record entered its East Metro Blue District game Friday against Cretin-Derham Hall without two of its top players, Nico Bolden and Jake West.
It took Cretin-Derham Hall junior receiver Dylan Pohl one play to take advantage of the Royals' thin secondary in the Raiders' 22-12 home victory.
With the ball on Woodbury's 20, Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback Jackson Crawford surveyed the field. He had two receivers to his right, and when he raised a leg, Pohl went in motion from the slot.
At the snap, Crawford handed Pohl the ball and the junior receiver sprinted across the formation and upfield.
Pohl, nearing the 10-yard line and running out of sideline, planted his left cleat into the turf and cut back across the field. With one final juke of a defender, he crossed the goal line for the game's first score.
The touchdown sparked 15 unanswered Raiders points and led to an eventual victory against a rival.
"We keep going back to that play because it works," Pohl said. "That play just clicks for us, so we are going to keep running it down teams' throats."
In a rematch of last season's Week 2 matchup that the Royals won 19-14, Cretin-Derham Hall held the Royals scoreless until halfway through the fourth quarter. That was when Ryan Christensen found Nathan Bursch, who is committed to the Gophers, for a 5-yard touchdown.
Bolden and West were unavailable because of injuries, which forced Woodbury coach Andy Hill to plug inexperienced sophomores and juniors into the lineup.
"Some new guys got baptism by fire tonight," Hill said. "That will benefit us later on."
It took a while for some of the Royals' new faces to show up, but sophomore Andrew Kraemer emerged eventually. He initiated a Woodbury attempt to rally when he returned a kickoff 85 yards up the right sideline.
But on Cretin-Derham Hall's next possession, Marquez Thompson took a handoff up the middle and went 44 yards untouched for a score.
"They beat us last year pretty good," Raiders coach Brooks Bollinger said. "I know some of our guys had this one marked on their calendars."