9/28/2021 1:22:00 PM Cardinals find new faces fit in very well in opener
Any questions about how Highland's football team would respond with new players in the line-up came clearer Friday when the Cardinals disposed of a talented River Ridge team 34-12. It took only a little over five minutes before this year's signal caller, Maximus Oleson found Weston Frost open and placed the ball in his hands for a 10 yard touchdown. Oleson then kicked the extra point. Soon after the second quarter started Brett McGuire closed out a drive with an 11 yard run and Oleson kicked the conversions for a 14-0 Cardinal lead. The Timberwolves followed with a big play less than a minute later and at 10:09 got on the board. Matthew Nies spotted Brandon Crubel in the clear and the two combined for an 80 touchdown. Leading 21-6 at halftime the Cardinals scored first in the third period on a 10 yard run by Oleson. Ridge fashioned some sort of an answer on a Nies to Ian Adrians 34 yard scoring pass. Highland owned the final quarter as Oleson scampered in from the eight for a 27-12 lead and Frost chugged in from the six for the 34-12 finale. Oleson made good on eight of his 15 pass attempts for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Wolves picked him off once. Drew Nankey caught three passes for 55 yards. Frost grabbed two for 27 and McGuire two for 19. McGuire emerged as the leading rusher with 82 yards on five carries. Oleson picked up 39 on 12 tries and Cal Dorota churned his way for 19 on six carries. Defensively Josiah Green had a dominate 12 tackles and had 1.5 sacks. McGuire, Dorota and Blake Dax all had eight stops with Caden Lindner turning in seven and Nankey five. Cardinals coach Mike Aide said the new players in the line-up responded well in the opener. "I have had some pretty good players come thorough this program. Each year someone new is ready to step up. Maximus Oleson is now leading our offense and has done a very good job for us. Sam Talo is working at our left tackle position and is getting better each week. Isaac Biba is solidss at the guard position. Brett McGuire has now stepped into our running back position and is making improvements each practice. Mason Welsh and Caden Lindner are doing a nice job at wide receivers for us." said Aide. Aide said the play of Cal Dorota was inspiring for the team. "Cal was a big force on both sides of the ball," Aide said. "Cal did a good job lead blocking for McGuire and others. Cal carried tacklers every time he carried the ball. Defensively Cal makes a ton of plays for us. River Ridge was double teaming Cal on almost every play. We will need our defensive line to start demanding double teams so our linebackers can run free." Aide feels with a little more polishing the defense will be where they want to be. "Josiah Greene was very good at defensive end with 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Cal Dorota was double teamed most of the night and still made five tackles and forced a fumble. We also had three interceptions each by Caden Lindner, Maximus Oleson and Drew Nankey. Blake Dax also forced a fumble. Overall I felt good about their performance. We just need to clean up a few mistakes before next week." With game one under their belts Aide is glad to see the season get off to a good start. "I'm very happy that we can start on time and have a full schedule to play," Aide said. "Last year was crazy with not knowing if we had a game or not. I'm just hoping for us to be safe and have a fun and exciting season." The Cardinals have been fine turning their game this week in practice. "On offense is working on protecting the football and our blocking. Defensively we need to do a better job reading plays and filling the holes. Special Teams needs to do a better job on protecting and getting downfield," Aide said. The Cardinals are on the road in a big way this week. "We will be traveling three hours for our next game," Aide said. "I'm not excited about the bus ride but it will be good for us to do this. No matter what we still need to ready for this game. Independence/Gilmanton lost to Boyceville last week 47-6. Independence/Gilmanton will try to establish the ground game. We need to make sure to read our keys so they don't let that part of the offense get going. It should be a good test to see if we can stay focused on this trip."