Challenged by coach Andy Hill, Woodbury's kick return unit put the special in special teams Friday.
"He said we were kind of slow on special teams," junior Quentin Cobb-Butler said. "So we came out fast."
No one was faster than Cobb-Butler. He returned the game's opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, firing up Royals fans on Homecoming and putting Woodbury's 20-7 victory against Burnsville in motion.
Hill scrutinized the kickoff return this week because the past few seasons "we returned two or three for touchdowns, and we weren't even getting past our 30-yard line in the first three games," Hill said. "It's a little embarrassing because this is one of our go-to units."
And Cobb-Butler is one of the go-to guys for Woodbury (4-0), sixth in the Metro Top 10. A threat to score as a return man, receiver or cornerback, Cobb-Butler added a 36-yard interception return to paydirt in the second quarter. Then he kicked the second extra point for a 14-0 lead. The pick-six was his second this season. A year ago, Cobb-Butler burned the Blaze with an interception for a touchdown during a 28-0 victory.
"Every time I touch the ball, I want to score," Cobb-Butler said. "I want to make plays for the team to help us win."
Burnsville (2-2) avoided a shutout loss in the Woodbury rematch. Quarterback Jeremy Sherlock's short pass to Eric Kilgore turned into a 75-yard touchdown just 61 seconds into the third quarter.
Woodbury responded with a scoring drive propelled by a successful fake punt. Hill called the trickery to appease special teams coach Lane Swansson, who incessantly lobbies Hill to fake punts. Isaiah Tisdle finished the extended drive with a 5-yard scoring run for a 20-7 lead.
Neither quarterback got on track Friday. Woodbury junior George Bjellos, one of the state's best, struggled because of rain and a stout Burnsville defense. His counterpart, Sherlock, couldn't escape the Royals' relentless pass rush. Defensive end Kayode Amusan applied pressure all evening, registering a sack and several big hits.
"Our defensive line forced their quarterback to try and make plays he's not used to making," Cobb-Butler said. "He was running for his life."