The Ell-Saline Cardinals won a defensive struggle on a water-logged field Friday evening, spoiling homecoming night for the Inman Teutons with a 14-0 victory in Heart of America League play.
Ell-Saline (4-1) struggled to take care of the football early on. On the Cardinals’ first drive of the night, junior quarterback T.J. Morrical missed senior tailback Owen Bradley on an option pitch at the Inman (2-3) 30-yard-line. The Teutons recovered the fumble to snuff out the Cardinals first scoring opportunity of the game.
Early in the second quarter, junior tailback Keenan Drees coughed up a fumble on the first play of an Ell-Saline drive to give Inman the football at the Cardinal 32-yard-line. Drees would get redemption, batting down a would-be touchdown pass from Inman’s sophomore quarterback Jace Doerksen. A few plays later, Ell-Saline senior defensive back Keegan Harrington picked off a Doerksen pass – Harrington’s first of two interceptions on the night – to end the Teuton scoring threat.
Late in the first half, Drees picked off a Doerksen pass at the Cardinal 40-yard-line, returning it to the Inman 33-yard-line with 29 seconds remaining before halftime. Three plays and 19 seconds of game action later, Ell-Saline senior tailback Luke Parks rushed off the right tackle for a 15-yard score to give Ell-Saline a 7-0 advantage going into the locker room.
Both defenses held stout throughout the second half before Ell-Saline finally sealed the deal late. On a first-and-ten from the Inman 12-yard-line, senior tailback Sawyer Kramer found paydirt with 2:14 remaining in the game to give Ell-Saline the two-touchdown victory.
The Cardinals amassed 284 total yards of offense on the night, 257 coming on the ground. Parks led the way with 13 carries for 93 yards and a score, while Kramer added 13 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Through the air, Morrical went 4-for-6 for 27 yards, with senior Owen Bradley hauling in two grabs for 14 yards to lead the Ell-Saline receiving corps.
Both teams begin district action in Class 1-A next Friday evening, as Inman will face off with Sublette in a District 7 battle, while Ell-Saline returns home to Brookville to tangle with the Republic County Buffaloes in a District 5 affair.