Sports

Unbeaten #1 Aurora ends Cardinal season in playoff semifinal

Photos, Richard Rhoden, Aurora News-Register

A rematch, and an opportunity.
The Boone Central Cardinals faced undefeated Class C1 #1 Aurora Friday night in a state playoff semifinal game that gave the Cardinals a chance to avenge an early-season loss to the Huskies and advance to the 2022 C1 championship final.
Like a prizefighter taking body blows and left hooks while flicking jabs and occasionally landing stinging crosses to the chin, Boone hung in and hung on throughout the first half. The Cardinals were right there, threatening Aurora’s unblemished season at halftime, thanks to a final-second haymker.
Then, it all went wrong, as evidenced by a 40-19 final tally in the Huskies’ favor.
Dramatic Turn
During a roughly nine-minute stretch to open the third quarter, Boone could not climb off the ropes and took a pummeling that suddenly turned a 20-12 deficit into 40-12. Bang, bam, boom. The blows kept coming and the Cardinals were unable to counter.
Unlike the first meeting of the teams, in which Aurora led 34-6 in the first minute of the third period and substituted liberally throughout the second half, Boone had Aurora’s full attention, and the Huskies looking over their shoulders, at Friday’s intermission.
Even though the Cardinals missed several opportunities in the first 24 minutes, they finished the opening half with a bang as Alex Christo arced a perfect strike to Brant Benes for a 52-yard touchdown with just 10 seconds on the clock.
That trimmed a 14-point deficit to 20-12 and appeared to give Boone Central momentum entering the second half.
Aurora, however, regrouped, as great teams will. The Huskies began the third quarter with a 70-yard touchdown march, highlighted by a 63-yard run by All-State standout Carlos Collazo. On Boone’s ensuing possession, an ineligible-receiver penalty negated Christo’s 30-yard pass to Kolton Rasmussen, eventually forcing the Cardinals to punt. Aurora blocked Austin Wiese’s attempt and recovered in the end zone for another score. Just like that, the Huskies led 34-12.
The hits kept coming. Collazo intercepted a Christo pass attempt three minutes later, then iced the contest with a dazzling 33-yard touchdown run that put Aurora on top 40-12.
Bang, bam, boom. Just that fast.
It was obvious Boone Central was an improved team since the week-two loss at Aurora. But with Collazo – who missed three previous games with injury – healthy, Aurora was still Aurora, and the Cards just didn’t have enough to sustain an admirable challenge.

Complete article and further coverage in Print & Online editions of Albion News/Boone County Tribune