The Ell-Saline Cardinal football squad began the 2018 season with a stellar effort in a 48-7 victory over the Sterling Black Bears Friday night in Brookville.
Ell-Saline never trailed in the contest, taking a 7-0 lead with 8:34 to play in the first quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Nick Davenport to junior tailback Luke Parks.
Parks struck again late in the first quarter, fighting through Sterling tacklers to reach the near-side pylon for a ten-yard touchdown run. Following the extra point, Ell-Saline led 14-0.
The Cardinals tacked on two more scores in the second quarter. With 6:51 to play in the second quarter, Ell-Saline made it 21-0 on a four-yard touchdown run from junior slot receiver Sawyer Kramer. On the final Cardinal drive of the half, Ell-Saline finished off its fourth touchdown drive in as many attempts, capped off by a beautiful touch pass from Davenport to Kramer from the right hash mark to the left corner of the end zone for a ten-yard score. After a failed extra point, Ell-Saline took a 27-0 lead into the locker room.
Davenport put the game on ice in the third quarter. Following a three-and-0ut from Sterling to begin the second half, Ell-Saline didn’t take long to find the end zone, with Davenport bursting through the gut of the Black Bear defense for a 74-yard touchdown run to make it 34-0. On the next Ell-Saline offensive series, Davenport finished off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to give the Cardinals a 41-0 lead after three quarters.
With many second-team players on the field in a running clock fourth quarter, Sterling avoided the shutout with a 14-yard touchdown pass from the Black Bears backup quarterback, senior Conan Ball.
On the following possession, Ell-Saline tallied its final score of the night, a 66-yard touchdown run from the Cardinals’ backup quarterback, sophomore T.J. Morrical.
Davenport earned Salina Ortho Player of the Game honors, going 11-16 for 134 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while adding 124 yards and two touchdowns on seven rushing attempts.
Parks led the Cardinal receiving corps with five catches for 74 yards and a score.
Ell-Saline racked up 295 yards on the ground on 19 carries, averaging 15.5 YPC. The Cardinals finished the night with 429 yards of total offense.