The Ell-Saline Cardinal football squad fell in defeat Monday evening in Brookville, dropping a 31-13 contest to Heart of America League rival Sedgwick in a game that was suspended Friday evening due to lightning.
Sedgwick (4-0) set the tone early on Friday evening. After taking possession of the football first, the visiting Cardinals marched 74 yards on 14 plays, capping off their opening drive with a 27-yard touchdown strike on a halfback pass as senior tailback Kale Schroeder took the pitch from sophomore quarterback Lance Hoffsommer, then found senior receiver Qayden Shepherd in the end zone for the score.
After the first Ell-Saline (3-1) drive of the night stalled, Sedgwick regained possession at their own 14 yard line. Three plays later, Hoffsommer connected on a deep pass down the far sideline, hitting junior receiver Henry Burns in stride for an 81-yard touchdown. On the extra point try, Sedgwick went back into its bag of tricks, with senior holder Zach Miller taking the snap and passing into the end zone for a two-point conversion to make the score 15-0 with 2:55 remaining in the opening stanza.
Less than one minute into the second quarter, play was suspended with Sedgwick in possession of the football and the 15-point lead. When play resumed Monday evening, Sedgwick picked up where they’d left off on Friday, finishing off a 75-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hoffsommer to sophomore receiver Ryan Stucky. Following a missed extra point, Sedgwick appeared poised for a blowout victory, leading 21-0.
Ell-Saline would not be put away easily. After forcing two Sedgwick punts, the home Cardinals got the football back with 1:26 remaining before halftime and engineered a six-play, 47-yard scoring drive, with junior quarterback T.J. Morrical connecting with junior slotback Keenan Drees on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 0:06 to play in the second quarter, pulling Ell-Saline within 21-7 at halftime.
Both defenses held serve in the third quarter, trading goose eggs. With 11:19 to play in the game, Sedgwick added a 21-yard field goal from sophomore place kicker Connor Tillman to extend the advantage to 24-7.
After a failed Sedgwick on-side kick, Ell-Saline took over at the Sedgwick 42-yard line. Seven plays and 1:12 later, Morrical rushed into the end zone from two yards out. Morrical was stopped at the 1-yard-line on the two-point conversion attempt, leaving Sedgwick with a 24-13 advantage.
Any hopes of an Ell-Saline comeback were put to rest on the next series, as Sedgwick put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive taking more than six minutes off the clock, then sealing the deal with another halfback pass for six. This time, it was senior Mason Lacey connecting with Shepherd for a 40-yard touchdown pass on 4th and 7 to give Sedgwick the 31-13 edge.
Ell-Saline was held to 194 total yards in the loss. As a team, the home Cardinals rushed 33 times for 112 yards, with Morrical leading the pack with 42 yards on 13 carries. Through the air, Morrical finished 6-for-12 for 82 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Senior Owen Bradley led the Ell-Saline receiving corps with two catches for 24 yards.
After back-to-back home contests, Ell-Saline hits the road again this Friday, traveling to Inman for its final Heart of America League matchup before entering district play in Week 6.