Area Football: Cardinals so close
Warroad 21, Staples-Motley 14 Key: Warroad raced out to a 14-0 halftime lead Conf: SM 0-4, W 1-3 Overall: SM 0-5, W 1-4 Next: Staples-Motley vs. Hawley at Concordia College Moorhead 4 p.m. Friday STAPLES - Jacob Swendsrud to Brady Becker. It work...
Warroad 21, Staples-Motley 14
Key: Warroad raced out to a 14-0 halftime lead
Conf: SM 0-4, W 1-3
Overall: SM 0-5, W 1-4
Next: Staples-Motley vs. Hawley at Concordia College Moorhead 4 p.m. Friday
STAPLES - Jacob Swendsrud to Brady Becker.
It worked early in the third quarter to put the Staples-Motley Cardinals on the board for the first time in Friday's Heart O'Lakes Classic Conference contest.
The combination worked four more times in the second half for 103 yards. It worked on fourth and 12 on the Warroad 40 with time slipping away in the fourth quarter. Swendsrud hit Becker for 17 yards to keep the Cardinals' final drive alive. Trailing 21-14 in a battle of winless teams, S-M drove to the Warroad nine to set up third and six with 1:26 remaining.
Fourth down and six. 1:20 on the block. The call was made in the huddle. Senior quarterback Jacob Swendsrud would look for senior wide out Brady Becker in the corner.
"It was a short pass and I came to run up," said Becker "The guy grabbed my jersey and I just...I tried to open my hands...it just fell right to the ground."
The result - a 21-14 loss on homecoming that prolongs a losing streak that spans parts of five seasons. A losing streak that has reached 34 straight games. A losing streak that started Oct. 20, 2010 on a 27-20 loss to Breckenridge. A losing streak seven seniors, which includes Becker, are sick of thinking about.
"We just have to stay focused in practice," said Becker. "We just have to practice hard and come together as a team and just try and pull out a victory. We're just tired of losing. We just need to make plays."
Becker and Swendsrud connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass to cap off a four play, 67-yard opening drive of the third quarter that made the score 14-7 Warroad.
"I just saw that (the defender) was going looking for the ball and I told coach about it," Becker said. "So we ran a double move and he just threw it right to me and I got passed the defense and finished the play."
After a Warriors three and out, S-M tied the score on a Hunter Berggren 19-yard touchdown run.
"It's something that we've done every game this year," said Cardinals head coach Travis VanOverbeke. "The second half just seems to be our half. We've been working on trying to get things going in the first half and we know how that went tonight. The second half the guys came out and did what they've done all year in the second half. They came out to compete. They got their assignments taken care of. There was a little bit of a let down letting them score in the second half, but for the most part we came out with our ears pinned back and did a nice job in the second half."
That one Warroad score in the second half was the difference. After a missed 34-yard field goal attempt, Warroad drove 80 yards on 11 plays and scored on a Beau Wilmer 9-yard touchdown pass to Mason McPherson at 10:11 of the fourth quarter.
Wilmer accounted for both touchdown runs in the first half. Both were from 1-yard out to give Warroad a 14-0 halftime lead.
"We just need to start coming out in the first half and doing the same stuff," said Becker. "When the coaches start yelling at us at halftime it makes us just want to play even harder and just win."
Things don't get easier for the Cardinals, who play Hawley (4-0) at Concordia College in Moorhead next week. They then host Breckenridge (2-2) and Crookston (0-5) to round out the regular season.
"This one stings hard," said VanOverbeke. "Our players, parents and fans, they all had this one circled. This is something that everyone has been thinking about for a complete year. We're going to do it on homecoming. So this one really hurts. I think the guys were pretty confident, but you have to show up for four quarters. If you don't do that you don't win."
Warroad 7 7 0 7 - 21
Staples-Motley 0 0 14 0 - 14
W-Beau Wilmer 1 run (Nathan Cole kick) 5:46
W-Wilmer 1 run (Cole Kick) 2:59
SM-Brady Becker 37 pass from Jacob Swendsrud (Tyler Winkels kick) 10:02
SM-Hunter Berggren 19 run (Winkels kick) 7:03
W-Mason McPherson 9 pass from Wilmer (Cole kick) 10:11
Rushes-yards: SM 30-124, W 39-195
Pass comp-att-int-yds: SM 7-20-2-119, W 5-10-0-64
Total offense: SM 50-243, W 49-259
Rushing: SM-Hunter Berggren 11-52, Jacob Swendsrud 10-39, Mason Rychner 4-28, Connor Schmitz 4-4, John Lund 1-1, team 1-(-2); W-Beau Wilmer 10-49, Tommy Villaphone 17-125
Passing: SM-Swendsrud 8-20-125, Berggren 0-1-0; W-Wilmer 5-10-64
Receiving: SM-Schmitz 2-1, Lund 1-4, Rychner 1-17, Becker 4-103; W-Mitchell Roberts 2-29, Jason Cole 2-26
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .