Stillwater kept up with Woodbury’s big plays and did just enough of the little ones Friday night on the road.
The Ponies converted two of their three extra-points, while the Royals failed on all three and missed a field goal attempt in the final seconds, giving Stillwater a 20-18 victory in the Week 1 matchup.
Despite missing an extra point in the first half, Woodbury kicker Colton Johnson had a chance to be a hero in the game’s final seconds. But Johnson’s 29-yard field goal attempt was tipped by the Stillwater defense and fell just shy of the crossbar.
“We came up kind of slow but got rolling. And our kicker had a good game,” said Stillwater running back Nick Anderson, who ran for a 27-yard touchdown.
Most of the night’s impressive scoring plays in the close contest lost their impact when point-after-touchdown conversions were missed.
But Stillwater’s first and third touchdowns didn’t count for only six. Danny Laudet easily converted the extra points.
Laudet was good on two of his three attempts, while Woodbury went for two points twice, without success, after missing its first kick.
The big-play theme began immediately. Woodbury running back Quran Al-Hameed returned the first offensive play of the game 80 yards for touchdown. But the Royals’ extra-point problems also began with a missed kick.
Stillwater contributed its first big play of the night with a 63-yard pass from quarterback Nate Ricci to Joey Quinn midway through the second quarter.
Al-Hameed answered back with another big run of 37 yards, but the two-point attempt failed.
Stillwater scored on back-to-back possessions after the Ponies recovered an onside kick to increase their lead to 20-12.
“There were a lot of little things that we did well and some little things we definitely could have done better,” Stillwater coach Beau LaBore said. “I think Woodbury is a great team, and we have the potential to be a great team and were fortunate to make a couple plays down the stretch.”
Al-Hameed ran for his third touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter to get within two, but his two-point conversion attempt was stuffed.
Quarterback Sawyer Moon converted two fourth-down conversions on the Royals’ final drive of the game, which eventually fell short with Johnson’s tipped field goal attempt.
“We circle this one up every year. But we made stupid mistakes that aren’t us,” Moon said. “We practice that [missed] two-point conversion all week and we make extra points all week.”
That wasn’t the case in the Royals’ home opener.