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Cardinals close impressive season with loss to Ramblers

Nikolas Hofacker defends Spring Valley's territory in his last game as a Cardinal on Friday, Oct. 27 against the Regis Ramblers. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
The Cardinals tried to stay warm as snow fell during Spring Valley's game against the Regis Ramblers on Friday, Oct. 27. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Aaron Borgerding comes down with a keeper in Spring Valley's playoff game against the Regis Ramblers on Friday, Oct. 27. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

The snow fell and so did the Cardinals on Friday, Oct 27.

Spring Valley was overcome by the No. 3-ranked Regis Ramblers in their second-round football game held on their turf by a score of 25-6 in the Ramblers' favor.

"We just made too many mistakes against a really good football team," Spring Valley's head coach Ryan Kapping said. "You can't do that against a team that's as well-coached and athletic as they are."

The Ramblers took an early lead against the Cardinals when they scored off of their first offensive drive of the night. A pass from quarterback Isaac Michels to Andrew Root brought the Ramblers to first and goal, which gave Root the field positioning he needed to run in a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Regis' extra point attempt was no good, and the score was marked at 6-0 with 4:31 left in the first quarter of play.

Spring Valley's offense couldn't get things going in their next possession, and the Cardinals kicked at fourth and one from their own 16-yard line.

The Cardinals defense was able to provide the No. 2-ranked team with some hope after they held the Ramblers on their next drive and forced them to turn the ball over on downs.

The Cardinals took over at their own 39-yard line, and began their late first-quarter drive with an Aaron Borgerding 14-yard keeper. Borgerding's run put the Cardinals at second and nine at Regis' 44-yard line to start the second quarter, but the Cardinals couldn't convert after a Henry Theisen sack brought them to fourth and 17 at their own 47-yard line.

Regis extended its lead on their next possession off of a Root carry, and the score was brought to 12-0 with 8:25 left in the half.

Spring Valley's game was livened up with a Tyson Kado kick return following Regis' touchdown. Kado gave the Cardinals the first and goal positioning they needed to score their first touchdown of the night, and despite a Spring Valley fumble, Jaydon Nyeggen was able to put the Cardinals on the board with a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Borgerding's two-point conversion run was unsuccessful, and the Regis' lead was narrowed to 12-6 with 7:36 left in the half.

Regis' lead was lengthened once again after Calvin Diaz made his way into the endzone by toppling over Spring Valley's defense to score the Ramblers' third touchdown of the night. The Cardinals were able to break up Regis' two-point conversion pass attempt, which left Regis' lead at 18-6 at the end of the first half.

The snowfall picked up to begin the second half, but Spring Valley's offense stayed stagnant in the third quarter of play.

A Spring Valley fumble gave Regis a chance to build their lead with a drive that started at Spring Valley's 20-yard line with 7:31 left in the quarter and ended with a passing touchdown from Michels to Jacob Salonek. The final score was set at 25-6 after Root found his way into the end zone for Regis' only effective two-point conversion.

The fourth quarter of play featured many Spring Valley drives that came up short of hitting pay dirt.

The Ramblers took a knee with 30 seconds left in the clock, and Spring Valley's fans began a "thank you seniors" cheer to conclude the Cardinals season.

Kapping said he was proud of the eight seniors who led his team to a record of 9-2.

"We were picked to be in the bottom half of our league to start the year, and to compete right to the very end ... they have a lot to be proud of," Kapping said.

The senior group finishes its Cardinal football career with 38 wins.

"That's outstanding. Not a lot of groups can say that," Kapping said.

Senior Zacc Larson, co-most valuable defensive player of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, finished his last game as a Cardinal with 8 tackles. Santana Schlegel led the Cardinals with 13 tackles total.

Nyeggen recorded 1,348 rushing yards in his senior season, 60 of which came against Regis. The senior averaged 125.8 rushing yards per game. Kado finished behind Nyeggen with 611 yards on the season.

Borgerding was four for 11 in pass attempts against the Ramblers, and recorded 45 rushing yards and six tackles in the playoff game. Spring Valley will lean on the sophomore's experience and leadership in his next two seasons as a Cardinal.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished," Kapping said. "I told the young kids that we'd be back, and that we'd be the team to beat."

Regis advances to the third level of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs after their win against the Cardinals. The Ramblers will take on the No. 4-seeded Unity Eagles who upset the first-ranked Melrose-Mindoro Mustangs on Friday, Oct. 27. The Ramblers and Eagles will face off on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Regis.

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