Eagles Outlast Cardinals On The Road
History repeated itself in a Southeast District, White Division matchup on Friday, September 14 in Lewiston, as the Dover-Eyota Eagles held on to defeat the Lewiston-Altura Cardinals, 27-24.
Last year, the Cardinals started out the season 2-0, and lost to the Eagles to start a 3-game skid.
This year, the Cardinals again won their first 2 games of the season, only to fall to the Eagles for the 8th time in 14 matchups dating back to 2004.
It was an auspicious start, as a good return by Evan Daley on the opening kickoff was called back on a block in the back penalty. The Cardinals struck first, though, when Noah Herber marched in from 9 yards out with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter. The Cardinals took a 7-0 lead after an extra point kick from Daley.
Less than a game minute later, on the Eagles’ second offensive play from scrimmage, Quarterback Brady Williams evaded tacklers on a play-action pass, and found Brady Glynn for a 70-yard pass. After a Christian Fernandez extra point, the game was tied at 7-7.
A sustained drive by the Cardinals on their next touch resulted in Marcus Weaver finding Griffan Merchlewitz for a 10-yard score. Daley again converted the kick, and the Cardinals were on top, 14-7.
However, the Eagles continued to find answers to the Cardinal drives. Again, less than a game minute later, the Eagles were marching down the field, and Williams connected with Jack Studer for a 77-yard touchdown. Fernandez kicked the extra point to tie the game with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
Both teams caught their breath at this point, and with 7:57 to go in the second quarter, the Eagles took their first lead of the game on a 1-yard TD run by Isaac Bushman. The extra point was no good, and the Eagles took a 20-14 lead into the locker rooms for Halftime.
Dover-Eyota had the ball to start the second half, and again play started after a miscue on the kickoff. This time, a bouncing ball found its way to returner Randy Clark, but he fielded the ball with his knee on the turf, and the Eagles had the ball on their own 16-yard line.
After a quick 3-and-out, the Eagles were forced to punt. Brady Glynn was standing in the endzone, and in the face of a two-man Cardinal rush, Glynn lost the ball. It rolled out of the endzone for a safety. Hunter Gerdes made the first contact, which Glynn was able to get away from, but was wrapped up by Danner Brummer. As Brummer tried to finish the tackle, the ball popped out.
The Cardinals would get the ball back after the safety, and the drive resulted in a Cardinal 3-and-out.
Dover-Eyota used the next offensive drive to erase the memory of the safety, and a couple of plays later, Williams connected with Studer for a 67-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 27-16 lead.
Later in the third quarter, the Cardinals looked to make a big play. With 2:55 remaining, Marcus Weaver picked off Williams, and on the return, he fumbled the ball back to the Eagles.
That was not the end, though. After a few back and forth possessions, the Cardinals pulled themselves back in the game. With 4:13 left to play, Weaver found Gerdes for a 6-yard score. The Cardinals went for 2, and Weaver rolled to his right, and found Daley in the endzone to convert. That brought the Cardinals within 3, at 27-24.
Daley attempted a squib kick, to maybe force a turnover, but Eagle co-captain Michael Nelson covered the kick, to try to seal the win.
Dover-Eyota started to march down the field to run out the clock, but there was still one more hope for the Cardinals.
With the ball on the Cardinal 34 yard line, and facing a 4th and long with 27 seconds on the clock, Williams dropped back to pass, and threw an interception to Brummer. Brummer returned the interception about 7 yards, giving the Cardinals the ball on their own 35-yard line, and 17 seconds to go.
Weaver ran the ball into Eagle territory at the 46. He ran out of bounds with 7 seconds on the clock, and was hit as he threw on the next play. The pass fell incomplete, with one more second to go, and one last chance. A low snap forced Weaver to pick the ball up off the grass, and did get a pass downfield, but it was knocked down, and the Eagles held on to win, 27-24.
The Eagles (2-1) will return home this week to face Cannon Falls (0-3), while the Cardinals (2-1), will travel to Caledonia (3-0), to face a Warrior team that has not lost since November 11, 2014 – a streak of 44 games, and 3 consecutive State Championships. The Warriors also have the third longest winning streak in the country, behind Damascus High School in Maryland (45 consecutive wins), and Lamar High School in Missouri (53 consecutive wins).
Football Night On HBC will be in Lake City, on Friday, September 21, as the Tigers (0-3) host the Rochester Lourdes Eagles (3-0). The Eagles qualified for the State Tournament last year, but fell in their opening round game. Two years ago, the Eagles were a perfect 13-0, winning the State Class AAA Championship. Game time on the 21st is 7pm, and the game can be seen on HBC TV 25 (SD), or 525 (HD).