Big Rapids – With Big Rapids having an abundance of injured players that may cause some concern for the Cardinals but that also gave an opportunity for some younger guys to get some experience and soak in the atmosphere of a Friday night. Big Rapids back home faced longtime cross county rival Chippewa Hills in the 49th matchup between the two schools.
Big Rapids got the opening kickoff and was forced into a three and out by the Chippewa Hills defense. On Chippewa Hills first possession Hunter Conley was intercepted by Hunter Walch, though the Warriors defense again stood firm in forcing a punt. On the Warriors second possession they went up tempo though it turned into a fourth and one. The Warriors rolled the dice and on a fake punt converted the fourth and short. With the fresh set of downs the Cardinals defensive line dominated the Warriors offensive line specifically Maverick Steffes and his two sacks forcing Chippewa Hills into another punt.
After another three and out by the Cardinals the Warriors had a big punt return to knock on the edge of the red zone. In the red zone the Warriors went for it on fourth and five and converted then RB Quentin Gossett scampered in from three yards out to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After the Cardinals got their first first down of the night an interception was returned for a touchdown to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead. After the Cardinals were forced into another punt Maverick Steffes once again got up and close getting another sack and forcing a fumble that was picked up by Big Rapids. Being in the red zone after the turnover RB Mekhi Urban ran for eleven yards that with a penalty put the Cardinals at the two yard line. After a play that got back to the line of scrimmage RB Paul Nelson hit pay dirt from two yards out to cut the Warriors lead to 14-7.
After trading punts back and forth the Warriors found themselves back in the red zone and on fourth and six from the nine yard line Mike Rautio joined the party sacking the quarterback to force a turnover on downs. After another punt from Big Rapids that was returned into the red zone, Cardinal John Michalski got a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Cardinals. At the half Chippewa Hills lead Big Rapids 14-7.
Coming out of the half Chippewa Hills had a quick minute thirty five second drive that turned in to a seventeen yard touchdown run by Brendan Barry. On Big Rapids first possession of the drive the throw by Hunter Walch was a little behind his receiver Isaac Hughes and was intercepted by the Warriors. The Warriors got the ball back to pay dirt as a five yard run by Quentin Gossett gave the Warriors a three score lead.
After a punt by Big Rapids Hunter Conley ran the ball thirty six yards for a touchdown but it was called back by a penalty, though Conley then ran the ball another thirty six yards to get in to the red zone. On the next play Conley ran it five yards to pay dirt to give the Warriors a 35-7 lead.
The third quarter was all Warriors as they forced their will in all three aspects of the game. The Cardinals stayed up though by continually talking and picking each other up. Take away the first three possessions by the Warriors the two teams played the quarter evenly, showing that this Cardinal team is improving every single day.
Freshman Aaron Repke got an opportunity to play late in the fourth quarter plus Matt Spicer got an opportunity to run the ball for the Cardinals in their first Varsity action.\
-article by Christopher Heally