|11/13/2020 2:20:00 PM|
With a questionable seed, Cardinals ready for Wolves
Unfinished business to take care of and maybe a computer program to figure out faces the Highland football team at River Ridge tomorrow night.
Unfinished business is proving to the rest of the football world that the Cardinals are as good as their 6-0 record shows. After last weekend's WIAA seeding proving that has risen to the top.
The computer program....the one the WIAA uses to seed teams...just may need an overhaul and answer a couple questions such as:
a-How did Highland slide down to #3 seed when they are undefeated and beat the team (Potosi//Cassville) that got the #1 seed? There was another undefeated team in the four team pod...DeSoto...but the Pirates only played three games with two of them against Hillsboro, a team Highland spanked 41-14 in their regular season wrap up Friday.
So, the gloves have been thrown down and the challenge rendered. Now it is up to the Cardinals to take the next step to gaining the respect the feel they have earned.
It won't be a cake walk though. The Cardinals have to travel to River Ridge to face the #2 seeded Timberwolves (4-2). The two teams were to meet during the regular season but COVID won that one.
"River Ridge is a very well coached team," said Highland coach Mike Aide. "They have a very good quarterback in Logan Drone, and an excellent receiver in Braden Crubel. Their offensive line is very disciplined and doesn't turn the ball over very much. Defensively Gavin Esser and David Nies do a great job containing the line of scrimmage. Linebackers Logan Drone and Ethan Hunt are ball hawks and get after you as well."
Along with facing a solid team there is still what the Cardinals feel is a computer glitch.
"I won't lie. I was pretty upset with the seeding we got," Aide said. 'I thought we deserved better but it wasn't meant to be. I felt our players had a special season taken away from them. We asked them to do everything so they could secure home field advantage for the playoffs. I told our players on Monday to use this as motivation. The WIAA computer evidently thinks we are a subpar team. Our seniors will not get to play another game on Tyler Field and that sucks. We will put this behind us and prepare for River Ridge this Friday."
But with the season of COVID 2020 the seeding is just one of the things the Cardinals have had to contend with.
"I definitely saw the ups and downs from COVID this season," Aide reflected. "We did the best we could to protect our players and coaches this season. As a coach I take a lot of responsibility in how we act versus this pandemic. This season I felt we played at a high level even with all of the distractions. I hope next year we can concentrate more on football and less on wondering if we will be playing from week to week. Not playing for a week really hurts in one way but also helps with players with any injuries. I'm very happy that we're able to play this fall and give our players the opportunity to do it. I also want to thank Brad Tucker for setting up the home football games on Youtube. That definitely has made this season more enjoyable for the ones who are unable to go to the games. Our School Board and Administration did a great job helping us accomplish our goals this season."
For the most part the season finale with Hillsboro was business as usual for the Cardinals as they rolled to the 41-14 win.
Owyn Halverson owned the first quarter, scoring twice. His first tally came on a 28 yard pass from Justin Miller and he created the second one of his own, rambling 44 yards to the house.
It was time for a big play in the second quarter and the Cardinals got one on a Miller to Maximus Oleson pass for an 83 yard score. Miller connected with Drew Nankey for a six yard scoring aerial before half and a 27-0 lead.
The Cardinals had a let down moment in the third quarter and the Tigers took advantage. They scored a pair of points when the snap on a punt went into the end zone and added to it when Hillsboro scored on a 57 yard romp.
"We definitely were out of rhythm during certain periods of the game," Aide said about the Hillsboro scores. "I think sometimes we play to the same level as our opponents. That's not a bad thing but as a team we are growing and learning each week. There were some mental mistakes but as usual we will address and correct them."
Almost like a snap of a fingers and the Cardinals were back to the races. Isaac Michek ran a couple routes that more than paid off when he caught scoring passes of 26 and 71 yards, outracing the Tigers defenders to send the lead to 41-8.
Hillsboro got some consolation though with a 19 yard run to end things 41-14.
Aide said the Cardinals had many good performances and was especially impressed with Michek who has had some big play moments.
"Isaac Michek has played very well this season," Aide said. "He has started both offense and defense all year and has made some very impressive plays. His game winning touchdown versus Potosi/Cassville was one of many big plays he has made this season. We have a lot of weapons on this team. It seems like we have a different kid step up every Friday. That's what makes this team so tough to play against."
Aide also passed out some more credit.
"Gabe Benish has also played very well on both sides of the ball. He just keeps getting better each week. Blake Dax is another player who isn't real flashy but gets the job done. He does a great job at middle linebacker and center. Blake is very dependable and smart. Brett McGuire is another player that keeps improving each week; just another kid who works hard and wants to win every game." Aide said.
For the night Miller was 8/14 for 272 yards and five touchdowns. Halverson had 17 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Michek caught two passes for 97 yards, scoring on both of them.
As for River Ridge the Cardinals are looking forward to the test.
"We have some unfinished business to take care of and it starts this Friday," said Aide.
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