By Scott Watson
Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (4-1) defeated East Sac County (3-2) with a familiar display of physicality in a 13-10 win. The engine of the Cardinal’s power offense was restoked as 363-yards of offense was tallied in a game where luck favored the victors. But a lack of discipline nearly cost the Cardinals what should have been a decisive win over the Raiders.
“East Sac is a very good football team. We made a lot of mistakes with fumbled snaps and penalties, but were able to play through those mistakes and come home with a victory,” said GHV Head Coach Scott VanDusseldorp.
The night began slow, as lackluster offense combined with errors and penalties to plague both teams in the first quarter.
The second quarter was dominated by the GHV offense, despite an inability to produce. Each drive was characterized by the slow grinding of a penalty-plagued offense whose progress was eventually brought to a halt in the red zone by the Raider defense. The game stood scoreless at halftime.
An early turnover in the second half gave the Raiders possession in Cardinal territory. A large run and a few plays later, the Raiders chalked up six with a point after touchdown kick.
Another Cardinal fumble gave the Raiders the ball within spitting distance of the GHV end zone. In an act of defiance, the Cardinal defense dug in its heels and held the Raiders to a field goal.
Down 10 in the third quarter, the Cardinal offensive line made room to roam and Braden Meints carried the load close to the Promised Land. Tyler Buck made the decisive blow on a 15-yard rushing touchdown. Meints’ PAT kick was good for a 10-7 third-quarter score.
Early in the fourth quarter, an East Sac County punt pinned the Cardinals back on their own two-yard line. After a six-minute, 98-yard drive, the train finally came to the station on a three-yard Nic Tusha rushing touchdown. The PAT was no good, but the Cardinals had the advantage and a 13-10 victory.
The Cardinals put up 363 total yards to the Raiders’ 114. But the Cardinals were plagued with errors as they totaled seven fumbles, three of which they lost, and 11 penalties for 108-yards. The Raiders, meanwhile, had one turnover on an interception, and six penalties for 55-yards.
GHV had 302 rushing yards on 69 carries and two touchdowns to East Sac County’s 62 yards on 29 attempts and one touchdown.
The Cardinals totaled 61 passing yards, with three completions on five attempts. The Raiders had 52 yards with five completions on 15 attempts.
Leading the rushing game for the Cardinals was Meints with 140 yards on 21 carries. Logan Miller contributed 38 yards on 13 attempts, Tusha had 36 yards on six runs with a touchdown, Spencer Shaw had 36 yards on 10 attempts and Buck added 28 yards on six carries with a touchdown.
Meints passed for 40 yards on two attempts with one completion. Shaw passed for 21 yards on three tosses with two completed.
Shawn Murphy led the GHV receiver corps with 40 yards on one reception. Meints had one catch for 15 yards and Buck had one for six.
The GHV defense was lead by Meints with five tackles. Tusha and Murphy had four and one-half tackles each with half a sack. Matt Sonquist added four tackles, Wellik had three and one-half, Devora Allan had three tackles with an interception and Jimmy Legge added two and one-half tackles with a half sack.
The Cardinals are 2-0 in their district and will continue district play this week at home.
“This week we play Clarion-Goldfield (2-3) in what will be another tough contest,” said VanDusseldorp.