10/11/2019 11:15:00 AM Wildcats get pushed around at homecoming, lose 30-7 on late scores
A casual glance at the 30-7 score of last Friday’s football game between the Wildcats and the Andover Huskies could lead you to believe that the Huskies had a relatively easy win over the Wildcats. But it really was one of those games that was closer than the score indicated. And it all turned on a penalty late in the game.
With four minutes to go in the game, the Wildcats trailed 17-7 and had the ball first and ten at the Huskies’ 13-yard line. Quarterback Austin Siefert kept the ball, headed right, cut back up the middle and ran untouched into the end zone for a touchdown. If the Wildcats converted the extra point, they would have pulled within three. But a holding penalty nullified the touchdown., and the ball was moved back to the 20. On fourth down from the 19, a Wildcat pass attempt fell incomplete. The Huskies drove down the field and scored with 1:24 left in the game to make it 24-7 and returned a fumble for a touchdown on the last play of the game to make the final score 30-7.
The Huskies drove down the field quickly on the game’s opening drive. But on fourth and four from the Wildcat 22, the Wildcats broke up a passing attempt and took over on downs. The offense went three and out, and after a nice punt, Andover took over at their own 25. On second and ten, they completed a pass that would have given them a first down at their own 43. But they fumbled and Wildcat Aaron Marx came up with it out of the pile, giving the Wildcats great field position. The Wildcats fumbled it right back two plays later and the Huskies took over at their own 37. A 40-yard pass completion on second down moved the ball all the way to the Wildcat 30. Three plays later, Dylan Frost ran it in from the ten-yard line and the Huskies led 7-0 with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Wildcats managed one first down on the ensuing drive but were forced to punt. The Huskies took over at their own 25. They went on an eleven-play drive. On third and ten from the 13, quarterback Elijah Alexander dropped back and fired to the middle of the end zone. Tight end Vlado Duvnjak made a nice diving catch, and the Wildcats trailed 14-0 with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter. On the next drive, the Wildcats faced second and seven from the Andover 48. Quarterback Austin Siefert threw a pass to the right just a few yards downfield. The Huskies knocked the ball out of the receiver’s hands, and it popped up into the air. They intercepted at their own 41-yard line. The teams traded fourth down stops and the Huskies took over at their own 43 with little time left in the half. After six plays, mostly passes, they had the ball first and goal at the 10 with eight seconds to go in the half. They passed the ball into the end zone, and it was nearly picked off by the Wildcats. Andover settled for a 27-yard field goal by Ethan Gallipo and led 17-0 at the half.
The Huskies tried an onside kick to open the second half, but the Wildcats recovered it and got the ball in great field position at the Andover 49. On fourth and two from the 41, Siefert kept the ball and gained three yards for the first down. On the next play, he pitched left to Nick Stone, who turned on the jets around the corner and raced untouched into the end zone. Spencer Nelson kicked the extra point, and the Wildcats now trailed 17-7. The Wildcats forced a punt on the next drive, but their own drive stalled at midfield. A shanked punt gave the Huskies the ball at their own 33. Six plays later, they were forced to punt from the Wildcat 48. The ball bounced at about the 15 and was downed at the one-yard line. The Wildcats proved they were up to the task and moved the ball downfield. But on the tenth play of the drive, the killer holding penalty nullified Siefert’s touchdown. After the fourth down stop, a seven-play drive by the Huskies was capped off by a touchdown pass from Alexander to Frost. And Huskies defensive lineman Justin Kenning scooped up a fumble and rumbled 70 yards on the last play of the game to top off a 30-7 win for the Huskies.
Wildcat head coach Bill Weiss said “Even if we had scored to cut the lead to three with four minutes to go, we would have had to try an onside kick or kick it deep and come up with a stop on defense. We did have all three timeouts left. So, we at least would have had a chance to tie it up.” Weiss was pleased with his team’s effort, even if the execution sometimes fell short. He said “We needed to finish. We had some opportunities, some bright moments, and some disappointments. But we had enough to build on that will help us to move forward. Aaron Marx and Owen Dresel played very well at linebacker for us in this one.”
Nick Stone led the way on offense for the Wildcats, with 98 yards on eleven carries. Six other Wildcats combined for 123 yards. “We are really thin in the backfield,” said Weiss. “At the beginning of the season, we had six guys we felt were very solid, capable running backs, plus a few other guys that could give us some carries. But we lost several guys with injuries and we have a few other guys that primarily play defense, which is why Nick has carried a bigger load lately. And he is doing a nice job.”
Football Notes The Class 4A Wildcats (2-4) will host the Class 5A Rogers Royals tomorrow night at Chisago Lakes High School at 7 p.m. Weiss said “Rogers is a fundamentally sound and well-coached football team. They are not overly fancy on offense, but they are good at what they do. After winning just one game last season, this year they rank right up there with the top teams in our district. We have an opportunity to beat them if we do the things we are capable of and do them well.”