Alexandria football: Cardinals fumble away chances against MoorheadThe Cardinals close out their regular saeson tonight with the Brainerd Warriors
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria football team lost five fumbles on Friday night as Moorhead took advantage of those miscues to win 25-15 to drop the Cardinals to 1-6 on the season.
“It was fumbles and penalties,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “The first half, our defense played lights out. If Moorhead was the fifth-ranked team in Class 5A, our defense did an amazing job in the first half holding them to 16 points.”
The Cardinals’ defense was put in tough situations early and often as three of the fumbles came in the first half to help the Spuds take a 16-0 lead into the break. Alexandria then fumbled again on its first possession after halftime.
They started to move the football once they stopped putting the ball on the ground. The Cardinals scored late in the third quarter when John Vogeler capped off an eight-play, 50 yard drive with a touchdown run from a yard out.
Alexandria used an interception from Nathan Huss to get back within eight in the fourth quarter. Jake Bear scored from three yards out after the Moorhead turnover before Vogeler added the two-point conversion with a little less than 11 minutes left in the game.
“When we did hang onto the football, we were able to do some pretty good things,” Empting said. “We were within eight points with about four minutes to go.”
That’s when another miscue sealed Alexandria’s fate. A bad snap on a Cardinals’ punt went through the back of the end zone for a safety as Moorhead took a two-possession lead that it never relinquished.
The Spuds held Alexandria to 107 yards rushing on 37 carries. Mitchell Peck led the Cardinals with 37 yards, while Bear and Vogeler finished with 32 and 31 yards, respectively.
Vogeler was able to get going through the air as he connected on 14-of-22 passes for 148 yards. Aaron Steidl was his primary target as he caught six balls for 75 yards. Cole Jodsaas added three catches for 46 yards.
Moorhead finished with 237 yards rushing on 42 carries. The Cardinals held senior running back Chase Morlock without a touchdown, but he still led the Spuds with 142 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Aaron Lien scored on a five-yard run for Moorhead and Drake Benedict scored on runs from one and 11 yards out.
“I know going in, we wanted to keep [Morlock] running toward the sidelines,” Empting said. “We were able to do that. Very few times did we let him get turned down hill. Even on some of the bigger runs, we bottled him up and he bounced a couple different change of directions. I thought defensively, our kids did a great job all night long.”
The win moved the fifth-ranked Spuds to 7-0 on the season. Alexandria will have another tough challenge to wrap up the regular season tonight, Wednesday, when the Cardinals welcome in a 5-2 Brainerd team for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“We played the No. 5 ranked team really close,” Empting said. “But at some point, we got to make that turn. Moral victories aren’t going to be good enough in a couple of games. If we want to keep things rolling and make this special for our seniors, we got to get the real victory.”
ALEXANDRIA 0 0 7 8 – 15
MOORHEAD 3 13 7 2 – 25
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Passing – Vogeler – 14-22, 148 yards; Receiving – Bear – 3-18; Huss – 1-5; Jodsaas – 3-46; Steidl – 6-75; Peck – 1-4; Rushing – Bear – 10-32, TD; Vogeler – 15-31, TD; Huss – 1-1; Jodsaas – 2-6; Peck – 9-37
DEFENSE – Parker Bowden – 9 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 5 pass breakups; Brandon Bistodeau – 4 tackles, 1 interception; Riley Hvezda – 1 tackle; Jodsaas – 1 tackle; Nick Knoblach – 6 tackles; Huss – 1 tackle, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups; Steidl – 12 tackles; Tyler Kelly – 1 tackle; Chad Peterson – 7 tackles; Parker Revering – 11 tackles, forced fumble; Jordan Karger – 6 tackles; Ted Deitz – 5 tackles, blocked kick; Joe Gorghuber – 4 tackles
SPECIAL TEAMS – Kick returns – Bear – 2-20; Knoblach – 1-21; Punts – Steidl – 3-91; Extra points – Chandler Davis – 1-1