In a game that had more twists and turns than a good mystery novel, the Ell-Saline Cardinals made the long road trip to take on the Plainsmen of Oakley and came away with a 6 point win in overtime.
The Cardinals got off to a slow start going 3 and out on their first possession. Meanwhile Oakley marched straight down the field for a touchdown drive capped off with an 11-yard scamper by junior QB Will Schmidt. 115 pound freshman Carter Krier carried the ball across the goal line and less than 3 minutes into the game the Plainsmen led 8-0.
Then both the Ell-Saline offense and defense found their footing and with 4:50 to go in the first quarter, Cardinal junior quarterback Kade Wilson tossed a 4-yard TD pass to senior Taegen Bradley. The Noah Carrazco kick was good by the senior and Ell-Saline was within a point down 8-7.
The Cardinals would take the lead with 3:51 to go before intermission when Wilson powered in from the one foot line and Ell-Saline went up 14-8 after Carrazco booted his second PAT of the contest.
The lead was short lived. On the ensuing drive Oakley’s offense got in high gear much like they had done on their opening drive with junior Landyn Plummer accounting for the last 5 yards. The game remained tied at 14 all however when Krier was held out of the end zone on a play that would prove pivotal.
That’s because neither team scored in the second half with both squads failing to capitalize inside their opponent’s 10-yard line and turning the ball over on downs.
This set up what turned out to be a wild finish to the contest. Ell-Saline lost the coin toss and had to go on offense to begin the overtime period. With 4th and goal at the 4-yard line, Ell-Saline called timeout to consider attempting a field goal. However, the decision was made by Head Coach Joe Roche to go for the touchdown. When Wilson’s pass into the end zone fell incomplete, the Plainsmen knew any kind of score would give them their first victory of the year.
Things went from bad to worse to horrible for the Oakley offense in the extra period. The Plainsmen began with a false start penalty that made first and goal from the 10, first and goal from the 15. On the next three plays, the Ell-Saline defense came up with a stop for no gain and two tackles for loss resulting in Oakley having to go for it on 4th down from the 23. Schmidt’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Cardinal junior Nick Walker and ended up intercepted by senior Kayden Goddard. The big 220 pound linebacker rumbled 77 yards down the middle of the field for the winning touchdown sending a large Oakley Homecoming crowd away disappointed.
Next up for the Cardinals, who improved to 2-1 on the season, a home game with the state ranked Plainville Cardinals in a battle of the birds. Meanwhile the 0-3 Plainsmen make the lengthy road trip to Inman to take on the Tuetons.