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Week 3 football: Royals, Raptors collide tonight at WHS

When it comes to rivalries in Woodbury, it doesn't get much better than this.

The Woodbury and East Ridge high school football teams collide tonight at Royals Stadium for the fifth time since East Ridge launched its program in 2009.

It's been a back-and-forth affair with memorable games since the teams' inaugural match-up in 2009 when Woodbury handled East Ridge in the new school's very first debut on the football field. East Ridge came back the following year off an 0-9 season to earn the program's first-ever win over -- guess who -- Woodbury. The Royals went up 2-1 on the Raptors in 2011 in an overtime thriller during Woodbury's homecoming game. The rivalry currently stands at 2-2, courtesy of the Raptors' 28-26 home win last year over the Royals.

One team will break that tie tonight and take home the Golden Griffin Trophy, which has been battled over since 2010 between the teams.

Here are some highlights from both teams to consider heading into the match-up:

-- Rising rank: East Ridge enters the game ranked No. 3 in Class 6A, according to the Sept. 11 Associated Press poll. East Ridge is the top-ranked team among Suburban East Conference squads in the rankings, with Mounds View -- who beat Woodbury in Week 1 -- ranking No. 8 in the poll; fellow SEC schools Stillwater and Cretin-Derham Hall also received votes in the AP poll.

-- Sophomore trump: Both teams will start a sophomore tonight at quarterback: Brady Mundahl for Woodbury and Seth Green for East Ridge.

-- Offensive arrival: After a slow start at home in Week 1 against No. 8-ranked Mounds View, the Royals unleashed an outpouring of rushing yards in Week 2: a total of five Royals gained a combined 379 yards on the ground against White Bear Lake.

-- Rush city: East Ridge brings its own standout running game in one player -- Nick Leach. The senior running back has gained 434 yards through two games and has created a 151-yard separation between himself and the Suburban East's second-leading rusher.

-- Razor's edge match-ups: The last two games of the rivalry have been close affairs following two years of blowouts; the last two match-ups have been decided by a total of three points (35-34 in 2011; 28-26 in 2012).

Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m. at Royals Stadium.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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