The Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals rolled into Pierce last Friday for a highly-anticipated early-season grid battle between Class C1 Top 10 teams and Mid-State Conference rivals, and rolled out with an impressive 21-7 victory over the Bluejays.
Although Pierce entered the contest with the higher pre-season ranking – #4 to #7 for Boone Central – this was no upset.
The Cardinals played a solid, complete game, dominated the third quarter, and proved to be, at this point of the season, the better football team.
“This was a great opportunity for us in the early part of the season,” noted Card Coach Arnie Johnson. “We were able to make a lot of improvements from the week before, partly because we were playing a traditional power in Pierce.
“I thought our players did a good job of playing through the ups and downs of the game. We played a very physical game and we again saw that we have a number of players who can deliver a big play.
“I was pleased with our overall effort.”
Following a scoreless first half featuring physical, punishing defensive play from both sides, Boone Central/Newman Grove broke through with a pair of third-period touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead.
As always, there was no quit in a Mark Brahmer-coached team and the host Bluejays fought back with their best drive of the contest to cut the lead to 14-7 in the fourth quarter.
Boone Central/Newman Grove proved its own mettle with a strong finish, however. The Cardinals got a key fourth-down sack to thwart Pierce’s final opportunity to tie, then scored the clinching touchdown in the waning minutes.
A second complete performance of the young 2012 season against a much-tougher foe, for which Boone Central/Newman Grove was rewarded by swapping positions with the Bluejays in the latest Omaha World-Herald C1 Top 10 rankings.
Johnson’s post-game comments illustrated the all-around effort.
“I liked the fact we were able to generate some rushing yards out of our spread offense,” he said. “Our defensive front four played a great game, making lots of plays on the line of scrimmage. We also had some big plays on special teams that really gave us a positive shot in the arm when we needed it.
“One of the nice things is, we still have a number of ways that we can get better.”
Friday proved good enough in this case.
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News