Defending nine-man state champs win their way to second round of playoffs
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The defending state nine-man football champions will live to fight another day.
The Cromwell-Wright Cardinals finished 3-5 this season after graduating much of its team from last fall but still received a home seed for the first round of the Section 5 playoffs.
Cromwell-Wright made that home game count in a 29-12 win over Hill City, extending their current winning streak to three games and earning the right to play McGregor on Saturday in the second round.
Quarterback Jared Hutar was 10-for-16 through the air for 195 yards as the Cardinals forged a 22-6 lead after three quarters.
Hutar threw four completions to Austin Johnson, and the Cardinals used a balanced rushing attack as well to keep the Hornets off balance.
Hutar threw three touchdown passes of 5, 13 and 53 yards to junior Joe Couture. Junior Alex Hakamaki scored the team’s final touchdown on an 8-yard fourth-quarter run to make it 29-6. He finished the night with 66 yards on the ground. Mitch Talley had 56 yards on the ground and Tyler Hakamaki gained 46 more.
The Hornets scored a cosmetic touchdown on the last play of the game to make the score a bit more respectable.
The top-seeded Mercuries enter Saturday’s playoff game with an 8-1 record and boast a 26-21 win over Cromwell-Wright on Sept. 30. McGregor defeated Northland-Remer 48-14 in their first playoff game with quarterback Kalvin Becker running for 83 yards and a pair of scores.
McGregor has piled up 325 points this season with Cromwell-Wright holding them to their lowest point total of the season.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. in McGregor.