The St. Mary's Cardinals have had to put the pads away for another year.

This year the Cards had nothing to be ashamed of as their only loss on the season is also the one that ended it last Friday, Nov. 6 in Wolbach, when the Cards fell 44-14 to the Central Valley Cougars in the state quarterfinals.

The Cards had a tough time against the Cougar's numbers and size, which was impressive as a whole.

Ty Nekoliczak threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Morgan Behink and with the conversion, the Cougars led relatively early in the game.

The two teams took little time getting to know their opponent's offense and defense. The Cougars jabbed at the Cardinals running up the middle and around the end. The Cards held the Cougars to one touchdown in the first quarter but struck again in the second when Nekoliczak drove his team down deep into the Cards territory and hit Kyle Oakley on a nine-yard touchdown pass. Nekoliczak ran in the conversion to put the Cougars up 22-0.

The Cards felt the pressure to score before the game got out of hand and a few plays later Aidan Hedstrom put the Cardinals in scoring position and hit Connor Semin on an 11-yard touchdown run for six.

The Cougars kept their offense on point and scored once more before the half with Nekoliczak scoring the next touchdown and the conversion to put the Cougars up 22-6 at the half.

The Cougars remained unchecked in the third quarter and racked up 22 unanswered points. The Cardinals struggled defensively to stop the lethal combo of the run and pass Central Valley threw at them.

The Cards final touchdown came in the third when Hedstrom hit Semin on a 31-yard touchdown pass. Dalton Alder ran in the conversion for the Cards hard-earned eight points.

Hedstrom led the Cards with 15 carries for 114 yards; Tate Thompson 12 carries for 54 yards; Grant Winkelbauer four carries for one yard and Alder three carries for two yards.

Semin led the Cards with two catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns; Issac Everitt one catch for 13 yards; and Thompson one catch for 10 yards.

Thompson led the defense with 12 tackles; Isaiah Wiese nine tackles; Semin eight tackles; Hedstrom seven tackles; Adam Everitt five tackles; Winkelbauer four tackles; Charles Barlow three tackles; Alder, Sam Barlow and Lawrence Werth two tackles each; Isaac Everitt and Andrew Koehlmoos one tackle each.

The Cardinals ran 49 plays and had 11 first downs while incurring one penalty for 13 yards. The Cougars ran 73 plays and had 21 first downs while incurring six penalties for 26 yards.

The Cards end their season with a 10-1 record.


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