Forest Lake ended its final football game of the regular season last Wednesday night with a 54-7 loss at Woodbury, who came into the matchup at 2-5.
The Rangers held the Royals for much of the first quarter, until Woodbury added seven to the board with 3:38 to go. The Royals added another touchdown two minutes later to make it 14-0.
“Woodbury showed a lot offensively, they’ve shown a wide range of formations this season but last night they stuck to their bread and butter,” head coach Billy Kirch said. “I thought we did quite well on defense at times, but then had a couple mental errors and beat ourselves, whether we had a guy in the wrong spot or not enough coverage.”
Forest Lake bounced back in the second quarter to hold the Woodbury offense scoreless until the two-minute mark again. Then, after a Ranger turnover, the Royals scored 12 seconds later to make it 26-0. A threat to kickers all season, Forest Lake sophomore Nick McCormick sprinted from the edge of the line to block the extra point.
With 30 seconds to go until halftime, quarterback Trent Rabel threw downfield to senior Tanner Lane for a Ranger touchdown. Senior Cole Searle added the extra point.
That ended the momentum for the Ranger squad, as the Royals would go on to score 28 points in the second half.
Senior Glen Miron averaged 4.6 yards a carry with 51 yards on the night, while Lane averaged 7.4 yards a carry for a total of 37. Miron and Lane also shared special team duties, with Miron returning four kicks for 87 yards and Lane with 48 yards in three returns.
“Tanner is just a great athlete to have,” Kirch said. “Whether he’s at safety, wide receiver or running back, he’s just a fun kid to watch out there.”
Lane also led the way in the passing game, catching two tosses for 79 yards including the touchdown. Senior Dan Wassman had two receptions for 28 yards, while Rabel threw for 112 yards in nine attempts.
The Rangers also continued their season-long struggle on Wednesday night for a healthy quarterback. Sophomore Brandon Rogers, who took over for senior Trent Rabel after a concussion, suffered an ankle injury last week and was deemed unable to play against Woodbury.
Rabel started against the Royals, but left with a migraine in the second half, leaving Wassman to fill in at quarterback. Wassman was relieved by sophomore Drayton Bagan in the fourth quarter. Bagan completed his lone attempt for 22 yards.
“He’s a great athlete and will be a good player for us,” Kirch said. “It takes a lot of courage to step on the varsity field for the first time in a situation like that, and especially at quarterback.”
With section playoffs ahead, Forest Lake earned the No. 7 seed, beating out North St. Paul at No. 8. The Rangers will face the No. 2 seed, Mounds View, at the Mustangs’ home field Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. Kirch said his players will be studying up before facing the Mustangs again for the second time in three weeks. They lost to Mounds View 61-0 on Friday, Oct. 12.
“We’re going to keep watching film, focus on getting down to block and tackle,” Kirch said. “We’ve got to play with leverage. We’re not going to get any bigger, stronger or faster in a week, but we can be great on the things we can control.”