September 15, 2023 at 10:59 a.m.
Wildcats survive late push from Bluejackets, move to 2-0
Wildcat fullback Evan LaValle carried the ball 31 times for 173 yards and scored a touchdown with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 35-28 win over the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets on Friday, September 8 at Cambridge High School.
The Wildcats went three and out on their first possession of the game. On fourth and seven from their own 32, the Bluejackets tried a fake punt, but the Wildcats stopped them at the 34 and took over on downs. LaValle carried the ball six times and went over from the two for a touchdown. Brycen Morley drilled the ball through the uprights and the Wildcats led 7-0 with 6:30 left in the first quarter. The Bluejackets answered with a nine-play drive, with Braylon running it in from six yards out with 1:41 left in the first quarter. Joseph Couwenhoven made a nice play to break up the pass on the two-point conversion attempt, and the Bulldogs still led, 7-6.
Starting from their own 37 on their next drive, the Wildcats spread the ball around a bit more, including a nice 12 yard run by Carson Langevin. On third and eight from the 17-yard line, Lewis dropped back and threw a perfect pass over a defender into the arms of Caleb DiCosimo just over the goal line for a touchdown. Morley pushed the extra point wide right, and the Wildcats led 13-6 with 9:21 to go in the first half.
Cambridge followed that with a 12-play drive. On third and six from the 11, Davis threw it to a wide-open Jacob in the middle of the end zone to cut the score to 13-12. They passed for two points and led 14-13 with 4:54 to go in the first half. Jacob Showers had a 34-yard kickoff return, and the Wildcats started first and ten on the Bluejacket 46. The Bulldogs went on an eight-play drive, highlighted by nice runs by Lewis and Showers. On first and goal from the six, Lewis bootlegged to the left and waltzed into the end zone through a huge hole to give the Wildcats a 19-14 lead. On the two-point conversion attempt, Lewis faked a handoff to LaValle up the middle and ran to the left untouched into the end zone to make the score 21-13 with 1:56 left in the first half. Each team had the ball one more time in the half but didn’t move it, so the Wildcats led 21-14 going into half
Cambridge-Isanti went on another 12-play drive to open the second half, culminating in a hip shaking 15 yard run by Davis for a touchdown. Davis kept the ball on the two-point conversion attempt, but Logan Bender blew through the line and tackled him well in the back field to keep the Wildcat lead at 21-20. The Wildcats quickly responded, moving the ball quickly down the field. Carson Langevin had an 11-yard run on a pitch to the left that gave the Wildcats a first down on the 24-yard line. Three plays later, on first and 15 from the 20, Langevin took a handout left, dodged a tackler in the backfield and ran untouched into the end zone for a touchdown. Morley’s extra point extended the Wildcats lead to 28-20 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
It took the Bluejackets just three plays to answer. On first and ten from the 30, Davis ran 23 yards to the Wildcat 47. After a three-yard run on second down, Levi Maurer took a handoff up the middle, burst into the secondary and ran all the way to the end zone for a touchdown. A pass for the two-point conversion tied the score 28-28 with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats went three and out on their next possession. Cambridge started their next possession with a 25-yard run. They quickly moved the ball down the field as the game moved into the fourth quarter. On fourth and one from the 14, Davis tried a quarterback sneak. He was stuffed at the line of scrimmage but lurched forward far enough for the first down. But the Wildcats defense held from there and took over at the 26 after Davis tripped over one of his own players while trying to drop back on fourth and 17.
Evan LaValle carried the ball up the middle on every play on the ensuing drive. On the ninth play of the drive, on second and goal from the four, LaValle plowed into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point made it 35-28 with 3:06 left in the game. After a touchback, Cambridge got the ball back on their own 20-yard line. On third and six from the 24, Davis hit Dillion Sommerfeld downfield, and the Bluejackets had a first down at midfield. After another first down at the Wildcat 40, Davis completed a 30-yard pass, but a five-yard penalty negated the play. After another penalty on the Bluejackets, on second and 20 from the 50, Davis hit a receiver at the 20 in stride, but the receiver dropped the ball. On third and 20 from the 50, the Bluejackets fumbled, the Wildcats recovered and ran out the clock for the win.
Wildcat head coach Ryan Anderson said “That was kind of a heavyweight battle punch for punch. We recovered the fumble at the end and were able to run out the clock and win the game. It was another exciting game that came down to the wire. I am proud of the way these guys battled for the second game in a row. Our offensive line as a group played well again. With their amount of experience coming into this year, we expect them to lead the way. And they controlled the line of scrimmage. Reed Bleymeyer did a nice job of stopping their weak side isolation and spent the game getting hammered by big guys. But he never shied away from it. We preach that the players should play fast, free, and physical. We seem to have the physical part down, and we will continue to work on the fast and the free. If we get better each week, we will set ourselves up for good things in the future.”
The Wildcats (2-0) will play Providence Academy tomorrow night at Chisago Lakes High School at 7 p.m.