Cards hang tough, run out of gas
Defending section champ pulls away
September 1, 2023
It's nice to open a football season at home. What wasn't so nice for Cromwell-Wright last Thursday was its opponent, defending Section 5 nine-man champion Ogilvie. While the Cardinals played tough, the Lions pushed through for a 42-21 win.
"They returned eight of nine starters on defense and seven starters on offense," said Cardinals coach Jeff Gronner. "They are big and physical and we knew they'd be tough."
Cromwell-Wright gave the Lions everything they could handle and then some as they trailed 26-21 with just four minutes remaining. The game ended with Ogilvie up 42-21.
"We were in a position a couple of times where we had to go for a first down and then they got a short field and were able to take advantage of it to put up a couple of late scores on us," Gronner said.
Trailing 20-0 in the first half, the Cards got a punt return for a touchdown from Dylan Nyberg and an extra point kick by Phoenix Anderson, cutting the lead to 20-7 at halftime.
In the second half, facing a fourth-and-12, the Lions scored to push the lead to 26-7. Then Nyberg went on a 62-yard scoring romp that cut the gap to 26-14. Anderson added another score in the third quarter for the Cards to pull them to within 26-21.
"I liked how hard the guys played," Gronner said. "We definitely have some things to work on and a lot of things to get better at, but I liked the effort and there were some good things we can take out of this game."
Nyberg had a big night on both sides of the ball for the Cards. He ran the ball 16 times for 101 yards and he also passed for 33 yards and had one reception for 27 yards, plus he scored two touchdowns. Defensively, Nyberg was in on 11 tackles with six solo tackles and five assists.
Lane Gervais added four catches for 18 yards on offense and Anderson went 3-for-3 on extra points and also scored.
Defensively, Brady Dahl had two interceptions and was in on eight tackles while Andrew Kachinske also had an interception. Tanner Collman racked up five solo and five assisted tackles while Tucker Korpi also had five solo tackles and a pair of assisted tackles.
"I am encouraged by what I saw against a big and experienced team," Gronner said.
One of the encouraging signs for the Cards was the significantly improved line play on both sides of the ball with four senior linemen.
"We needed to get better on the line, and you can see we have," Gronner said.
Next up for the Cards is a Friday night road game in Hill City.