|10/22/2021 11:28:00 AM|
Cardinals will see familiar faces to start playoffs
When the undefeated Highland football team starts its post season run the first hurdle will be getting past a very familiar opponent.
The Cardinals drew the number one seed in WIAA Division 7 and will play Wauzeka-Steuben-Seneca, the team they handled 44-8 just this past Friday. In that game it was all Highland with the varsity on the field for the first half with the reserves closing it out. The Cardinals scored 13 first quarter points then added 24 in the second stanza to grab a 37-0 lead at intermission. They added a third quarter score to close out the win.
Highland coach Mike Aide said he has no issue facing W-S-S again this week.
"I have no problem playing the same team twice in a row," Aide said. "We only control what's in front of us. We are very happy to have the #1 seed. We know that every game is going to be a challenge and we need to be ready for it."
He won't predict the outcome but he does not expect to see the same thing from W-S-S he saw Friday.
"Wauzeka/Seneca will have a better idea how to play us the second time around," Aide said. "I expect them to try some different things that we haven't seen this season from them. We need to play our game and hopefully come out with the win."
Friday the Cardinals ran 50 plays to 39 by W-S-S. They had a 359-67 difference in total yards, picking up 190 through the air and 169 on the ground. W-S-S's totals were 67 and 13.
The Cards also had 16 first downs to three by their opponents.
Aide said the change in the weather may have contributed to a slower start than normal.
"It was a little more chilly than usual Friday night and I think it took us a little bit to get used to," said Aide. "Once we got acclumated we took off. The varsity took care of business in the first half and JV took over the second half."
The Cardinals punched in a pair of scores in the first period. The first came on a one yard plunge by quarterback Maximus Oleson who also kicked the conversion. The second came on a 15 yard sprint by Brett McGuire.
Drew Nankey became Oleson's main target the second quarter as he grabbed two scoring passes, one that spanned 23 yards and another for 44.
Colton Frost put the finishing touches on the first half scoring bulge with a 13 yard run.
Also figuring to the point total were two conversion runs by McGuire and one by 6-2, 190 pound lineman Josiah Greene. Greene's blast got the Cardinals excited.
"Josiah got an opportunity to be a halfback for one play," said Aide. "It was fun to see the players congratulate him on the two point conversion."
Frost got the second half score for the Cardinals when he blasted in from 47 yards out. Lucas Welsh kicked the conversion.
The visitors got on the board with a six yard pass play in the third quarter.
Oleson was eight for 12 for 140 yards with Cohen Healy two for three and Darren Laufenberg one for one.
Eleven different players carried the football for the Cardinals and seven caught passes. Frost's 63 yards led the Cardinals in rushing and Nankey had the most receiving yards with 88.
The defense also figured into the win.
"I think our defense does a great job reading the offense and attacking," Aide said. "We still need to clean up some coverage issues but as I see it we do a great job getting after the other team,"
The Cardinals used a mix of players for the game which is something the coaching staff has been trying to do this season.
"We certainly have put different players in the mix," Aide added. "I know some would like to see others get more playing time but as a coach we are trying to balance it as best as we can. I think the JV has received a great deal of playing time on varsity. As a whole we have seen a ton of players get quality playing time which has made a big difference. It will definitely help during this playoff run."
The Cardinals have a score to settle this year after being denied a home game in their undefeated season with a win in the culminating event.
"I think last year with our team not having any home playoff games was disappointing but we use that as a motivator," Aide added. "This year having a home game is great for our school and community. Hopefully we can fill the stands and sideline with fans. It will be a great atmosphere at Tyler Field."
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