|11/11/2021 10:17:00 AM|
Cardinals have run ended in epic battle at Level 2
There is a saying in competition that in a toe to toe battle neither team loses but one of them runs out of time.
When the final score is 38-35 and the losing team had some problems converting their extra points the hope is to get one more shot at a score. For Highland that hope ended when they forged an almost magical comeback, scoring the last time with 2:42 left then never getting the ball back from the run minded Potosi/Cassville Chieftains.
It was a game of steadiness for the Chieftains who had their run minded ground game operating at top speed and their defense virtually eliminating the run game for Highland.
For the Cardinals it was a night of adjustments and they did an admirable job figuring out how to not only stay in the game but come a whisker from winning the Level 2 match-up.
But is wasn't to be.
Still the fans on both sides were treated to a great high school game that will go down as one for the ages.
A preview of things to come came one the opening kick-off that Brett McGuire fumbled for a tick but did not let it squirt away from him. Instead he picked up the football and raced down the sidelines 83 yards untouched for a 7-0 lead on a Lucas Welsh extra point.
But five minutes later and after a punishing drive P/C got in via a three yard pass from Levi Groom to Robby Roe. Owen Vogelsberg made it 8-7 with a two point conversion.
Another five minutes ticked off the clock before Potosi/Cassville scored again when Groom nailed Ashton Spitzack with 34 yard bomb. Vogelsberg had his number called again for the conversion.
Knowing they had to answer to let the challengers know they were in a game, senior quarterback Max Oleson called upon classmate Cal Dorota to get open. Dorota followed orders to a T and Oleson put the football into his hands for a 34 yard score. The score stayed at 16-13 when the conversion was missed.
That was how the first quarter ended.
P/C got the next word at 6:19 of the second frame when Groom put the ball into the hands of Eli Adams who carried it in for a 22-13 lead.
Highland found a way to get into the red zone and Dorota took care of the final two yards to score. Oleson ran in the conversion to pull the Cardinals within one at 22-21 at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter.
There was enough time left though for the Chieftains to score again which happened when the speedy Spitzack got around end for a six yard score. Groom's pass to Vogelsberg made it 30-21 at the half.
When P/C scored on a six yard run by Groom and a two point conversion by Roman Friederick to make it 38-21 with five minutes left in the third quarter the Cardinals knew they had a challenge they had to meet. That score came after the Chieftains blocked a Highland punt attempt by Oleson that P/C recovered on the 15 and punched it in two plays later.
"The blocked punt didn't help our cause," said Highland coach Mike Aide. "They shot past our deep snapper and made it to Max. Unfortunately we didn't get him picked up in time. It definitely put our defense in a tough spot."
But while what resulted was the deciding score the Cardinals made it interesting at they got back into the game. They owned the fourth quarter starting when they got six from McGuire with 10:17 left when he weaved his way in from the seven.
With 2:42 left Oleson nailed Bryce Bollant with a pass at the 19 that resulted in a score and pulling the Cardinals within three at 38-35.
The Cardinals needed another chance to score but they were unable to get it. Potosi/Cassville held on and will travel to Cashton Friday.
With the run game struggling Oleson took to the airways to create opportunities for the Cardinals. He was 13 for 19 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Dorota spent the night working to get open and caught six passes for 111 yards. Drew Nankey grabbed four for 49, Mason Welsh one for 30 and Bollant one for 19.
McGuire ran for 29 yards on 11 carries while Dorota picked up 14 on three tries. The ground total for Highland was 31 yards on 18 carries.
Spitzack and Friederick were the ground pounders for P/C with 148 and 126 yards as both carried 23 times.
Groom was eight for 11 passing for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
The loss ended an 18 game win streak for the Cardinals but all that means is they can start a new one next season. It is a good bet they will remember Potosi/Cassville and will want some payback. when they play again. Aide knows the Chieftains are a strong opponent.
"Potosi/Cassville had a really good ground game," Aide said. "We kept moving players around in the first half trying to control their offensive line. We finally moved Josiah Greene to defensive tackle and Cohen Healy to defensive end."
It was also a tough night against the P/C run defense.
"Offensively we couldn't establish the run game," Aide added. "Potosi /Cassville did a really good job filling holes and disrupting our run plays. Thankfully we were able to move the ball downfield with our passing game."
"I thought our offense moved the ball very well," Aide said. "Potosi/Cassville was just able to stay two scores ahead until the fourth quarter. We were able to get some defensive stops and march down the field quickly to get two scores in the fourth quarter but unfortunately we couldn't get another chance."
Aide said two of his players turned in great performances.
"Cal Dorota and Josiah Greene were outstanding," Aide said. "They battled every play and kept us in the game defensively."
The Chieftains did not bring anything new to Tyler Field but they did it well.
"Potosi/Cassville did what we expected but they just did a really good job breaking tackles," Aide continued. "They executed their offense very well and defensively they put a ton of pressure on us and made some big stops along the way. We made a ton of adjustments during the game. I felt both teams battled each other all night. Unfortunately we didn't do enough to win Friday night."
With an excellent season now in the books Aide reflected on how special this team is.
"I was very blessed to be able to coach 34 amazing young men this season. Each one had a big part of us going 10-1 this season. This one hurts me. I wish we could have had different results but that's not the case here.
"I'm very proud of my seniors especially. They did everything we asked of them. 10 Seniors gave us a season to remember: Isaac Biba, Lucas Welsh, Josiah Greene, Gage Hying, Max Oleson, Cal Dorota, Drew Nankey, Weston Frost, Brett McGuire and Mason Welsh. This group was 31-10 over the last four years. That is something to be really proud of. They have been a part of making this program so successful. They also have paved the way for our next group of players for next year. I think we will come back just as strong and work towards some new goals for next year. The future looks good for quite awhile here in Highland."
"This was a great season." the coach continued. "Including the last two years we were 18-1. Not many schools can say that. With having the smallest school playing 11 man football I take great pride in our accomplishments and so should our players. I'm proud of what we have accomplished these last two years. I also want to thank everyone for supporting our team this season."
"To play football in Highland is a privilege and an honor and that is our standard we have set here in Highland."
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