Ell-Saline took to the road Friday night for a highly-anticipated matchup with Sedgwick, renewing one of the Heart of America League’s fiercest rivalries. As has often been the case in recent years, the Clash of the Cardinals lived up to the billing.
The Ell-Saline offense wasted no time getting started. On the second play from scrimmage, junior tailback Luke Parks burst through a hole on the right side of the offensive line, then won the footrace down the near sideline for a 68-yard Cardinal touchdown.
Late in the first quarter, Sedgwick appeared to be finding its rhythm behind senior quarterback Hooper Schroeder, marching deep into Ell-Saline territory. On the tenth play of the drive, however, Schroeder had his pass picked off by Ell-Saline junior linebacker Caleb Hammonds – the first interception thrown by Schroeder thus far this season.
The Cardinals from Brookville rallied for a ten-play drive of their own, capped off by a three-yard touchdown run from Ell-Saline senior quarterback Nick Davenport. The extra point attempt missed wide right, leaving Ell-Saline with a 13-0 advantage just 27 seconds into the second quarter.
Sedgwick would retaliate on it’s next possession, driving 67 yards on six plays, with Schroeder plunging in from two yards out for the first Cardinal score of the night, cutting Ell-Saline’s lead to 13-7 with 9:33 remaining before halftime.
Both defenses would hold serve until the 8:03 mark of the third quarter, when Sedgwick’s freshman place kicker Connor Tillman drilled a 31-yarder from the right hash mark to trim the margin to three at 13-10. With 2:11 left in the third, Tillman struck again, this time from 25 yards out to draw Sedgwick even at 13-13.
Ell-Saline finally wore down Sedgwick in the fourth quarter with a heavy dose of the run from Davenport and Parks. With 8:07 remaining, Davenport scored his second touchdown of the night to wrap up an 11-play, 66-yard drive, giving Ell-Saline the lead at 20-13. The ensuing Sedgwick drive stalled just across midfield, leading to Ell-Saline’s most impressive drive of the night – a 14-play, 82-yard march topped off by Parks’ second rushing touchdown of the night, giving the Cardinals a 27-13 edge while leaving just 34 seconds on the clock.
Parks would end any Sedgwick comeback hopes immediately, intercepting Schroder’s final pass attempt of the game.
Ell-Saline (3-1) amassed 346 total yards in the win, with Davenport going 4-for-7 through the air for 66 yards, while racking up 159 yards on the ground on 31 rushing attempts. The Cardinals had two rushers top the century mark in yardage for the first time this season, as Parks added 116 yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore wide receiver Treyton Peterson hauled in each of Davenport’s four pass completions on the night.
Ell-Saline will return home for the first time in three weeks next Friday, hosting the Inman Teutons in the Cardinals’ final tune-up before beginning district play, while Sedgwick (3-1) will play on the road for the fourth time in its first five games, facing off against fellow Heart of America League foe Marion.