Card football: Alexandria snaps losing streakThe 20-14 win over Moorhead gave the Redbirds the third seed in Section 8AAAA
The Cardinal football team got a win it desperately wanted to end the regular season last Wednesday night.
Alexandria snapped a three-game losing streak by jumping out to an early lead and holding on late for a 20-14 win in Moorhead. Michael Joerger gave Alexandria a big boost with three touchdowns. His final one came in the last minute as he punched it in from one yard out to break a 14-14 tie.
“I thought the kids played awesome,” head coach Mike Empting said. “We did a lot of things really well again. We gave up a couple of points there in the second half, but Moorhead had a really good scheme and took advantage of a few things. We just had to make some adjustments and we did that.”
The game-winning drive was set up by a big play on special teams. The Spuds were forced to punt with a little more than a minute remaining, but the snap was mishandled as Alexandria took over on the Moorhead 35-yard line.
The Cardinals wasted no time going for the big play. Cole Ellison got the defense to commit to the run on play action before he found Parker Giroux open for a 34-yard gain. Joerger did the rest from there before the Cardinal defense secured the win with a sack on Moorhead’s final play of the game.
That defense made vast improvements from just five days earlier when it allowed 32 points against Little Falls. The Cardinals dominated the first half, holding Moorhead to just 41 yards of total offense and creating three turnovers.
That allowed the Alexandria offense to build a lead in the second quarter. Joerger got it started with a 62-yard touchdown run that gave his team the spark it needed. He added his second touchdown from one-yard out before the end of the half.
“Michael is a very strong athlete,” Empting said. “Pound for pound, he is one of the strongest kids on our team, and he’s explosive. He spends a lot of time in the weight room in the off-season. He’s done our speed program. He’s worked very hard to get where he’s at and it’s paying off for him.”
Moorhead made some adjustments in the second half to get back into the game. They capped off a long drive on their first possession after halftime with a Matt Duginski touchdown. Duginski then set up the tying extra point when he scored at the start of the fourth quarter.
The game went into the final minutes tied at 14 apiece before the Cardinals got the break they were looking for on the mishandled punt. They took advantage of the opportunity to go into the playoffs with a 5-3 regular season record and the No. 3 seed in Section 8AAAA.
The Cardinals were scheduled to open the playoffs at home last night, Tuesday. They welcomed Rocori to town for a rematch of a game that saw the Spartans win 24-9 on October 8.
SECTION 8AAAA FOOTBALL
1. Sartell, 2. Detroit Lakes, 3. Alexandria, 4. Sauk Rapids, 5. Little Falls, 6. Rocori, 7. St. Cloud Apollo, 8. Fergus Falls.
Fergus Falls at Sartell
Little Falls at Sauk Rapids
St. Cloud Apollo at Detroit Lakes
Rocori at Alexandria
Fergus Falls/Sartell winner vs. Little Falls/Sauk Rapids winner at high seed
St. Cloud Apollo/Detroit Lakes winner vs. Rocori/Alexandria winner at high seed