On a beautiful night for football (shorts and short-sleeve shirts were fan attire for the evening), the scoreboard tells the result; the following tells the story. The Cards lost their season opener last Friday at Willmar, 14-0. The report from that game sounds very much like what happened last night. The St. Cloud Tech Tigers took the opening kickoff and immediately marched the length of the field for a touchdown. They did it mostly by passing – their fine-looking quarterback throwing high lobs to his 6’5″ wide receiver. The TD was on a pass to the “tall guy” in the corner, and though a Cardinal game out of the end zone holding the ball, they ruled it a touchdown. For that series, Tech was able to take advantage of our 5’9″ corners – that would change for the rest of the game.
[82, no wind, at game time.]
The Cards had a difficult time moving the ball the entire half. Tech’s defense was quick and was in the backfield often enough to break up any momentum the Cards tried to generate. But the Cards defense also held its own for the rest of the half. The Cards were able to get a field goal and trailed 7-3 at the half.
Then your reporter made the Cardinal sin of leaving his camera in his pocket for the 2nd half kickoff. Senior Gideon Burnham took it 88 yards for a TD – a beautiful run. He broke a tackle around midfield, which broke his momentum, and it looked like a couple of Tigers had an angle on him – but he showed good speed in out racing them to the end zone. In a good for them moment, the Cards sent Gideon Hartzell, who is the basketball and football team manager (and probably only dressed in full uniform for this game?), out to kick the extra point, as he had been promised after the Cards first TD of the year. He did not make it, but the Cards had a 9-7 lead.
The Tigers came right back with a TD march after the ensuing kickoff – all on the ground. That proved to be the final points of the game. The teams traded punches for the final quarter and 3/4th’s but they could not score. Both teams were stymied by turnovers – the Cards had two interceptions and a fumble recovery, but we also lost two fumbles.
The Cards have all new players at the skill positions and the offensive line had trouble with Tech’s defense. They will undoubtedly get better as the year wears on. It was hard to get a handle on quarterback Logan Serum because he was under duress most of the game. He’s a pretty good runner, but his receivers had a tough time holding onto his passes. Tech did a good job shutting down our running game – but we showed some spurts. Young Aaron Steidl, a 6’2″, 190-pound sophomore, who rushed for a 147 yards against Willmar, showed he has the size and strength to be a dominant back – on the few occasions when he had enough time to square his shoulders, he made some nice 5-yard gains in traffic. Most of our rushing yardage in the game came in the 2nd half when we were able to spring Burnham on the outside
The defense played very well except for Tech’s two touchdown drives. Highlight players for us were two 5’9″ d-backs, Steffen Morical and Nick Knoblach (no relation to Chuck, as far as I know). After Tech’s first TD, Steffen was in the “tall guy’s” face the rest of the game – I only recall one nice diving, one-handed catch by him the rest of the game. But the two of them seemed to be everywhere. Our linebackers – the Wensmans, Charlie and Jack; and Jordan Domine – also made lots of plays. They were up against a quarterback who could run and throw; and a 150-pound halfback, who was not only quick and shifty, but was also surprisingly tough to bring down (he rushed for 120 yards).
Tech was the better team on this night, but it was a good game from a fan’s standpoint.
[You will note, as we certainly did, that high school kids are bigger than the Minnesota Vikings of Purple People Eater vintage! Goodness, a 310-pounder, a 300, a 294, a 273, a 265 – well, it goes on and on! 😉 ]
Postscript: We take seat cushions to football games (well, all games actually). Something to do with the tenderness of the senior bottom. We have a wide assortment of such cushions garnered from Final Fours over the years. On this night, I happened to hear rustling from the zippered pockets on the cushion bottoms. I opened them up and found some mouse pads, some ads, and this program (and these tournament teams produced many Division 1 hockey players):