High school football: Rosemount edges Woodbury under Monday night lights

High school football is played every day of the week, or at least it is in the year 2020.

On Friday, Woodbury was forced to cancel its game against Cretin-Derham Hall over COVID-19 concerns.

Rosemount didn’t play its first game of the season until Friday, after its first scheduled game was canceled and its second game postponed.

That set up a Monday night football game between two teams that have impressed early in the season.

“It’s been crazy; this weekend was nuts,” Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann said. “It is what it is. We’re just thankful our guys have an opportunity. We’re going to try and look for more
opportunities for our guys to play.”

Monday’s opportunity came against a Woodbury team that was averaging 47 points per game coming in.

Rosemount had proved itself offensively against Eagan, scoring 35 points in its first game of the season. But neither team could put points on the board Monday, as Rosemount won a defensive battle 9-7.

Points didn’t come until the third quarter, when kicker Leyton Simmering got the Irish on the board with a 22-yard field goal.

On the ensuing kickoff, Woodbury failed to grab the ball, allowing Rosemount to recover and jump back on offense in great field position.

The Irish made the most of it.

With the ball back in Woodbury territory, running back Christian Graske capped the short Irish drive with a score, rocketing seven yards up the middle for the game’s first touchdown.

Graske was a spark plug on an otherwise quiet Irish offense, finishing the night with 20 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown.

“I started off really slow… I kind of started to pick it up, I got out of my own head when we went into half. I just came out here and just tried to play,” Graske said.

Woodbury answered in the fourth.

After moving the Royals down the field on the ground, senior quarterback Donald West finished the drive in the air, hitting receiver Mat Lockner in the
back-left corner of the end zone to get on the board.

West led the way for the Royals’ offense, completing 11 of 15 passes for 75 yards a touchdown and an interception.

On the ground, he ran the ball 16 times for 68 yards.

Woodbury got the ball back with one more chance to keep its undefeated season alive. After converting on fourth down earlier in the drive, Woodbury couldn’t convert on fourth-and-11, as West was sacked for the third time of the game.

“We got a bunch of new kids in spots with our COVID(-19) quarantine. I’m not making excuses but kids in new spots without a practice, I thought they fought really well,” Woodbury coach Andy Hill said, adding that three offensive linemen were out on Monday.

With the win, Rosemount (2-0) stays undefeated on the season, while Woodbury (2-1) picks up its first loss after dominant showings in its first two games.

Rosemount is approaching the season one game at a time and will look to make the most of any opportunity to play moving forward.

“There’s teams that can come out here every single night and battle. You never know. The No.1 team can lose to an unranked team,” Graske said. “(The win) does give us some confidence but we got to come in every single week knowing that it’s going to be a battle.”

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