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Ruby Krietzman

No luck for the Irish

Royals football knocked out fifth ranked Rosemount

Oct 19, 2015

The biggest upset in the first round of the 2015 6A football playoffs belonged to the Hopkins Royals.

Entering the game, the Rosemount Irish were the fifth-best team in the state of Minnesota, according to The Associated Press. The Royals came in with a record of 2-6.

On Friday night, none of that mattered.

The Royals capitalized on Rosemount’s mistakes and didn’t turn the ball over once.

On the first drive of the game, Rosemount drove 65 yards, scoring the game’s first touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Deyon Campbell, junior, jumpstarted the Royals with a 94-yard return for a touchdown.

On the next drive, Riley Allen, junior, forced and recovered a fumble, setting the Royals up for a five-yard touchdown to take a 14-6 lead.

The Hopkins offense stalled, punting on five straight possessions, as the Irish jumped out to a 21-14 advantage late in the third quarter.

Despite their struggles, the Royals’ confidence never wavered.

“I could tell there was energy in our offense as we were taking the field and that we were ready to score,” said Oscar Johnson, senior.

Starting on their own five yard line, the Royals drove 45 yards before being faced with a fourth-and-five from midfield. Johnson shoveled the ball to Mannie Kugmeh, senior, who took the pass 21 yards for a first down to keep the drive alive.

“As soon as [the play] happened, I knew I had space to run, and [Henry Brott] had a good block to give me room,” Kugmeh said.

Two plays later, Johnson connected with Kugmeh once again for a game-tying touchdown.

With the Irish driving late in the fourth quarter, Matthias Harris, sophomore, recovered a Rosemount fumble, giving the Royals a chance for a game-winning drive.

The Royals capitalized, as Johnson connected with Malik Lofton, junior, on a 33-yard touchdown pass. The Hopkins defense held the Irish, and the Royals completed the upset.

Up next, the Royals will travel to Osseo High School to face the Osseo Orioles at 7 pm for a chance to go to the state tournament.

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