10/11/2019 11:37:00 AM Cardinals successful in R&V, planning for post season
Highland stuck 20 points on the scoreboard the first quarter Friday and added to it until they outscored Kickapoo/LaFarge 43-8 to wrap up thier Ridge and Valley Conference season on senior night. The Cardinals finished their conference season 5-2 and have two non-conference games remaining until they enter the post season. Advancing to the playoffs was one of the goals set this season by Mike Aide's Cardinals and they are enjoying the accomplishment. "It was a great feeling knowing that we will be one of 32 team fighting for a state championship in the coming weeks," Aide said. "The boys are hungry for more football after the regular season is over. We have a lot of work left to do before we get to the playoffs." Friday night the Cardinals kept the pressure on all four quarters with the biggest spurt coming in the opening frame when three different players scored. Jaydn Halverson put up the first six points, catching a 16 yard pass from Justin Miller. Owyn Halverson then traveled 21 yards to make it 12-0 and Miller kept it himself to put up the third score. Owyn Halverson and Miller hooked up for a seven yard scoring pass in the second stanza and Highland led 28-0 at the half. Cal Dorota was the next one to score for Highland with a 12 yard blast in the third frame. Lucas Welsh added the extra point to push the score to 35-0. KLF got its lone score of the game on a 20 yard run by Owen Cauffman in the fourth quarter. With Max Oleson taking reps at quarterback the Cards found the end zone again as the sophomore hit Weston Frost from 17 yards out for the final score. Besides the scoring the difference in total yardage more than favored the Cardinals. They rolled over the turf for 324 yards to 86 for KLF with 97 coming via the pass an 227 on the ground. Much of the credit for the difference in drives goes to the Cardinal defense. "Our Defense was our biggest weapon," Aide said. "Our players caused six turnovers on the night. Maximus Oleson had two interceptions and Iassac Kutzke had a good night from both sides of the ball. Those plays led to quick scores in the first half." Kutzke had eight tackles and recovered a fumble. Jaydn and Owen Halverson both pounced on a fumble. The other three turnovers that went in Highland's favor were two interceptions by Oleson and one by Colton Frost. Josh Bowen and Owyn Halverson both had six tackles. Miller made good on six of 14 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Oleson completed his lone attempt for a touchdown. Owyn Halverson led the rushing with 13 tries for 59 yards. Miller added 52 on seven attempts. Ten different ball carriers picked up yards for the Cardinals Jaydn Halverson was the reception leader with 53 on three catches. Kutzke caught two for 20, Weston Frost one for 17 and Owyn Halverson one for seven. "Our offense was led by Justin Miller who controlled the run and pass game," Aide said. "Justin made some good reads that lead to big plays. Owyn Halverson and Cal Dorota also helped with the ground game each scoring once. Jaydn Halverson and Weston Frost both had receiving touchdowns from Miller and Maximus Oleson." The Cardinals have made great strides this season according to Aide. "At the beginning of the season I was unsure of what kind of team we would have," Aide said. "There were a lot of holes to be filled and decisions on what players could fill them. Over the last nine weeks I have seen boys turn into men. Some kids are playing positions to help fill those needs. Our upperclassmen have had to be patient with some of the younger players to adjust to varsity speed. It has been a good mix with this group of players. Our JV has been rock solid helping us get good looks of different offenses and defenses. Being a JV player is tough and those boys have been tremendous all season. We have climbed a steep mountain so far and we have a ways to go. We need to stay focused and get better each week." Aide also feels the Ridge and Valley Conference has been a great experience for the Cardinals. "Since entering the Ridge and Valley this season it has been a good fit for our team," Aide said. "We had a brutal conference schedule to start the season. That alone made us better and showed we could play with those teams. Playing against teams our size has helped us stay healthy. It's tough when we had to play co-op's each week and sometimes maybe without a starter the coming week due to an injury. This switch of conferences has helped us sustain our program and helped develop our players. When playoffs start I will feel comfortable playing against anyone due to the development of our players over the last nine weeks." The win had special meaning for the six Cardinal seniors. "It was Senior Night and I think those six boys knew it might be their last home game," said Aide. "They wanted to leave that field with a win. Josh Bowen, Jadyn Halverson, Iassac Kutzke, Owen Murphy, Riley Mc Mannes and Grant Hying have contributed in many different ways throughout the past four years and we couldn't have done it without them. It was their night and they played it well." This week will be a road trip for the Cardinals as they head to Appleton to take on an Independent....Northland Pines. "We had Belmont on the schedule last year for week 8 and with them going to 8 man football we had to find another opponent," Aide said. "So when I went to the coach's clinic in Madison last spring I noticed Northland Pines was looking for a week 8 game. After some emails we both felt this would be a good game for both teams. Our AD Lynn Michek did most of the leg work and both schools agreed to cut travel time in half a find a neutral location. Appleton West High School was kind enough to host our game this Friday night. They have a beautiful turf stadium. It will be a three hour bus ride to get there and I feel this is a great way for our team to start getting ready for the playoffs. Northland Pines is independent and plays only non conference games. It will be a great challenge for us to see how we measure up against them. They run a pro style offense and they are very disciplined on both sides of the ball. We need to control the line of scrimmage and time of possession to earn this victory."