The Ell-Saline Cardinal football squad renewed acquaintances with a familiar foe on Friday evening, traveling to Plainville to face the state-ranked Plainville Cardinals in the regional round of the Class 1A playoffs.
After suffering a double-overtime loss to Plainville in the 2017 playoffs and a three-point loss to the rival rebirds on a last second field goal in the 2018 playoffs, Ell-Saline hoped this matchup would be different. It certainly was, but not in the way the Brookville faithful had hoped.
Plainville ended all doubt early in the matchup, racing out to a 33-0 lead just 28 seconds into the second quarter on its way to a 53-21 victory.
It was a dynamic performance for Plainville (9-1) seniors Jordan Finnesy and Jared Casey. Finnesy, the Plainville quarterback and lightning to Casey’s thunder, finished the night with three rushing touchdowns and one passing score, while the bruising tailback Casey added three rushing touchdowns of his own.
Ell-Saline (7-3) scored its first touchdown of the night with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter as junior signal caller T.J. Morrical took a counter play to his right for a 30-yard rushing score to pull the Cardinals within 33-7, but Plainville would follow that up with two additional second quarter touchdown strikes to lead 47-7 at halftime.
After scoring an early second half touchdown to make the score 53-7 and invoke a running clock for the remainder of the game, Plainville pulled many of its starters. This helped lead to some success for the Ell-Saline offense, which had amassed just 58 yards of total offense in the first half.
Senior tailback Luke Parks found paydirt from 14 yards out with four seconds remaining in the third quarter, making the score 53-14. Parks would add the game’s final tally, a 15-yard rushing touchdown with 4:31 left in the contest.
Ell-Saline finished the night with 189 yards, all of it coming on the ground. Parks carried 17 times for 95 yards, while Morrical finished with 46 yards on nine carries. Senior Owen Bradley added 39 rushing yards on nine attempts.
Plainville will face off with another Heart of America League foe in the Sectional round next Friday night, drawing the Inman Teutons. Inman advanced into the round of eight on Friday with a 43-13 road victory over Elkhart.