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November 15, 2018

10/25/2018 9:23:00 AM
Not big but HUGE first quarter propels Cards

For 12 minutes fans watching the Highland vs Blair-Taylor Level 1 playoff game may have been confusing it with tennis.
At least the viewing may have seemed the same.
Highland ran eight plays the first quarter, scored on five of them and led 41-0 after the first period and that is where the score stayed. After that it was letting the reserves play, keeping kids healthy and gaining experience for the Cardinals.
"We ran eight plays, scored on five of them and we had a punt returned for a touchdown in the same quarter," said coach Mike Aide.
The first quarter scoring went like this:
-Drew Hennessey ran in from the four and kicked the conversion (7-0).
-Peyton Coyier took off on a 51 yard run and Hennessey kicked the extra point (14-0).
-Owyn Halverson returned a punt 64 yards and Hennessey added the conversion kick (21-0).
-Hennessey took off for 74 yards and kicked the extra point (28-0))
-Hennessey scored from the 16 (34-0).
-Hennessey hauled in a 24 yard pass from Spencer Linscheid and kicked the extra point (41-0).
Hennessey had the ball in his hands four times and raced 98 yards, scoring three times. Coyier picked up 79 yards on seven carries. Linscheid threw twice, connected on both, with one a touchdown.
Defensively Jadyn Halverson, Coy-ier and Iassac Kutzke each had an interception and Linscheid recovered a fumble. Linscheid had a tackle for loss and Hennessey had 10 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
"Defensively we played well and forced some turnovers that led to quick scores," said Aide. "Special teams did a great job getting a punt return for a score. Overall our players were ready to play and excited to be back in the playoffs."
Also, studying film helped the Cardinals in their preparation.
"We saw a ton of things on film that we thought we would be able to do against Blair-Taylor," Aide said. "We had a good week of practice and it showed on Friday night."
Seeing the mismatch, Blair-Taylor chose to let the clock run after the first 12 minutes.
"After the first quarter was over Blair-Taylor chose to have a running clock," Aide said. "That did speed things up and create a quicker game. We started working with underclass men and letting them get in for offense and defensive reps. Some starters got extra reps to help with confidence and to work on their position."
Aide felt the team did a great job tackling and playing in coverage.
"Blair Taylor had trouble matching our intensity," he said. "Our defensive line and linebackers did great jobs defending the run early but our secondary played very well when the score grew in the first quarter. Blair-Taylor was trying to get the ball down the field but our secondary wasn't letting that happen."
Aide thought the win was important for more than just the team.
"I thought we had great support from the community and surrounding areas cheering for our team," he said. "I know the players enjoy it."
With their last game as a Highland player hinging on how the team does week in and week out Aide felt the seniors played with a purpose.
"I feel our seniors led our team against Blair-Taylor," he said. "They each played a big part in getting off to a fast start. Drew Hennessey scored four touchdowns in the first quarter which is pretty impressive. Peyton Coyier had a great touchdown run. He was caught behind the line but was patient and found a seam and outran the rest of the defenders. Owyn Halverson scored the team's first punt return touchdown of the season. Defensively we had three interceptions. Iassac Kutzke, Jadyn Halverson and Peyton Coyier each had a pick on the night. Spencer Linscheid had a very impressive stripping of the ball from the defender for a fumble recovery. Hennessey led the defense 10 tackles and a sack."
The Cardinals get to host again Friday when they entertain Ithaca, a team they beat 28-12 earlier in the season.
We play Ithaca in Highland on Friday night at 7 p.m. Ithaca has gotten a lot better since we played last time. Coach Chad Clary has some players returning to the lineup that we did not see the last time we played.
Coach Clary's son Jimmy leads the team in passing with 570 yards. Cade Netteshiem is the leading rusher with 1368 yards. Micheal Muller, Ryan Ghastin and Jordan Deal are leading receivers with over 500 yards combined.
Defensively Coach Jim Harris does a great job getting his players ready to play us. We will need to be ready for whatever they throw our way. Their leading tacklers are Jonah Marchwick, Logan Clary, Cade Netteshiem, Jimmy Clary and Jed Scallon.
Ithaca has a sound group and will get after you every play. It should be a great game to watch.

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