Kado out runs Whitewater defendeer to end zone. Photo by Jon Tanberg
Kado out runs Whitewater defendeer to end zone. Photo by Jon Tanberg

SPRING VALLEY, WI - The scoring, literally, came fast and furiously for the Cardinals, as they scored early and often in both halves of the game.

The win in the Level One opener pits the Cardinals, the number two seeded team, against Eau Claire Regis, the number three seed, tomorrow night in Spring Valley at 7:00 p.m. Regis took down Fall Creek 50-15, last Friday night for the right to come to Spring Valley.

“Regis presents a tremendous challenge.  They have outstanding team speed. They execute their schemes well and don't make mistakes,” said Head Coach Ryan Kapping about the opponent tomorrow night. “They are similar to Durand and GC offensively in terms of their scheme.  Defensively they will be the best team we have faced this season.  They have tremendous speed and they play a very physical style.”

The Cardinals opened the scoring in the game on their first possession and just second play. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Borgerding took the ball, read the defense and slipped through the defense and outran the Whitehall defenders for a 75 yard touchdown run just two minutes into the game.

On their next possession, senior Jaydon Nyeggen took the  handoff from Borgerding on the first play, broke through the line and raced another 75 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 13-0 lead just more than six minutes into the game.

After two fruitless possessions offensively, Whitehall put their number one quarterback, who didn’t start due to a bad ankle, into the game, and his impact was immediately seen.

Whitehall got on the board just before the end of the first quarter when Ben Ritter ran for two yards to complete a long drive with just 20 seconds left in the quarter. The two-point try didn’t go for the Norsemen so Valley led 13-6.

After the kickoff, and change of end zones, Nyeggen broke another big run, this time for 70 yards, crossing the goal line with 11:47 left in the half. Fellow senior Tyson Kado ran in the two-point try to put the Cardinals up 21-6.

But the Norse kept fighting and junior quarterback Parker Windjue moved the ball down the field  with short passes to the outside. Just a minute and a half after the Cardinals went up 21-6, Whitehall cut the lead back down to 21-12 on an 18-yard pass from Windjue to Tristan Wohlhoefer.

The Cardinals struck back though when Borgerding got his second touchdown on another keeper for 11 yards with 9:01 left in the half. Nyeggen got the two-point conversion run to put the Cardinals up 29-12.

Junior Dylan Bosshart added another score with two minutes left in the first half on an 11-yard run. The two-point pass to senior Craigen Anderson gave Valley a 37-12 halftime lead.

Kado led the Cardinals scoring in the second half of the game though, making a huge impact immediately.

The second half had Whitehall kicking off to the Cardinals, and Kado wasted little time in getting things going as he took the kickoff back 70 yards right through the middle of the coverage for a score to go up 44-12, just ten seconds into the half.

Kado struck again with a 45-yard run on the next Cardinal possession. The senior broke the edge and raced down the sideline for the score. The PAT kick by Kado made it 51-12 and gave the Cardinals a running clock with 10:12 left in the third quarter.

Whitehall was able to get another score almost five minutes later when Ritter ran nine yards for a touchdown to close the gap again to 51-18. That was the good news for Whitehall, the bad news was that they had to kick off again, and the result was the same as the first time they kicked off in half. Kado took the ball off a hop, bolted through the middle of the coverage and raced 75 yards to the house again to make it 58-18 again and making it an opportunity for the younger players to get in.

Whitehall got another score when Ritter ran in from the one-yard line with 6:24 left in the game but that was the end of the scoring for both teams.

The Cardinals gained 440 total yards of offense in the game to 369 for Whitehall. The difference was Valley gained all those yards on just 41 plays, while Whitehall had 83 plays. That also doesn’t include the 145 yards on Kado’s two kick returns.

Windjue completed 22-of-51 passes for 318 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the game while Valley didn’t have any yards passing.

“Against the pass I thought we made some nice adjustments after they had some early success,” said Kapping. “I thought we mixed coverages a little more and we were able to generate some pressure which forced some errant throws.”

Valley had all their yards on the ground with Nyeggen gaining 169 yards on just seven carries, Kado with 101 rushing yards on six carries, as well as Borgerding with 82 yards on seven carries. Kado also had 145 yards in two kickoff returns for the Cardinals as well.

I thought we did a nice job of spreading the ball around and a lot of guys got involved,” Kapping said. “It makes us more difficult to defend when that happens so I thought that was a big plus. I think we did a nice job of getting blockers engaged and staying locked on until the play was over giving us the chance to break some big plays.”

That versatility is what has brought the team success all season long. Now it’s just one game at a time, and Regis at home tomorrow night is what’s next.