MIDDLEFIELD—Waterloo quarterback William Bolanz threw for 215 yards but that was no match for Cardinal’s bend-but-don’t-break defense and smash mouth offense. The Huskies stayed undefeated with a 34-7 win over the Vikings on Friday at Richard A. Moss Field.
|Logan Schultz helped the Cardinal defense toughen up inside the 20|
“That sophomore quarterback they have is going to be a good one. Obviously, he threw for 700 yards against us I think, which was partially some coverage breakdowns,” said Cardinal head coach Eric Cardinal. “It’s a good win; a good, hard-fought win.”
As they have in their first two wins, the Huskies got off to a fast start when Nate Peters ran 46 yards for a score on fourth-and-1 on the game’s first possession. Kyle Gubanyar added the extra point to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead with 8:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Following a Waterloo punt the Huskies again converted on fourth down to keep a drive alive but this time they got some help from the Vikings’ defense. Kyle Simms' pass to Bobby Mrosko fell incomplete but the Vikings were hit with a personal foul that gave the Huskies the ball inside the red zone.
Simms would hit KC Cress for a 13 yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0.
A Cardinal miscue led to Waterloo’s only score of the game.
The Vikings recovered a fumble near midfield and Bolanz connected with Brandon Chalmers for a 54 yard scoring pass on the first play of the second quarter to cut Cardinal’s lead to 13-7.
“We had a couple adjustments we were doing and a couple times we didn’t make those adjustments. That’s just something we’ve got to work on in practice,” Cardinal said. “At times, when we were in man, we weren’t in man and a couple times when we were doing some switching we didn’t switch. Those are fixable things.”
Another Cardinal fumble caused no damage as Cress recorded his first of two interceptions in the game.
That turnover led to the Huskies’ final score of the first half, a Lester Troyer five yard run with 3:45 to play in the second quarter.
The Huskies imposed their will early in the third quarter.
Brant Zemelka recovered a Waterloo fumble that set up Clark Thurling’s 15 yard scoring run on Cardinal’s first possession of the second half and on the next possession Thurling caught a five yard touchdown pass thrown by Simms, who finished 2-of-4 for 18 yards and two scores.
Cardinal’s defense, which has allowed no more than seven points in any of its three games this season, then went to work.
Bolanz had success in between the 20 yard lines but the Huskies wouldn’t allow the Vikings to cross the goal line.
“I hate the word but we were a little bit of a rubber band there. We let them down close but then held them out. We had the resourcefulness to come up and make the stop. Seven points on the scoreboard is a big deal for us,” Cardinal said. “We came up strong and were able to hold them out but at the same time, especially against that kid flinging the ball, it was too many yards and a couple coverage breakdowns that we’ve got to address. Keeping them out of the end zone is huge, but at the same time having them knocking at the door is something we want to address.”
Waterloo’s six second half possessions resulted in two turnovers, a punt and the Vikings turned the ball over on downs three times.
Thurling led the team with 10 tackles, including 3 ½ for loss, and an interception. He also rushed 11 times for 61 yards and scored a touchdown despite missing practice time due to an illness.
“He may be the best linebacker, not that we’ve ever had, but maybe that I’ve ever had since I’ve been here, just in terms of instincts. We were saying on the sidelines, ‘Whatever we do, if we ever think of it, never blitz him,’ because his instincts are so good. It looks like a blitz but he’s just reading the play. He must have had four tackles for loss tonight on stuff he just read and cut through there with enough quickness,” Cardinal said. “As far as the offensive play, if he wasn’t playing every single down on defense and being the leader of that defensive team and our leader in tackles by a longshot he could be a 25 carry a game guy with a 100 yard average. Clark absolutely list he leader of the team defensively and could be offensively. We have him not play very much on offense.”
Troyer led the Huskies on the ground with 15 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown and Peters ran for 69 yards on nine carries.
The Huskies improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2012 when they lost to Beachwood in Week 4. The Huskies host the Bison on Friday.