State appearance number 11!
Cardinals to face Hillcrest Lutheran on Fri., Nov. 7 in Cromwell
by John Grones | November 4, 2003
They’re there again! For the 11th time in the past 16 years, Cromwell has made it to the Minnesota State Football Tournament. This year, they defeated the AlBrook Falcons 28-8 on what the coaches would consider a solid performance, but not their best.
“We did not get a good start on defense,” said coach Bergstedt, “but the team fought hard and secured the victory.”
In an earlier meeting, Cromwell man-handled AlBrook, recording a shutout 34-0 and totally dominated the game. This game started out with an opening drive by Cromwell that included 10 plays and ended with a Russell Johnson 2-yard touchdown. Russell also scored the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.
Cromwell enjoyed a lead briefly, because AlBrook answered quickly with a 64-yard touchdown run on their second play from scrimmage. Falcon running back, Leon Slinker, busted through the line and sprinted for the long score. John Tondryk added a two-point run and the game was tied at 8-8.
At this point, the game was in the balance and it was going to be up to the team leaders to make a play. The offense didn’t get it done on the next drive and were forced to punt. Fortunately for the Cardinals, the defense stepped up and made some big plays. John Tompkins and Tyrel Messer made some big hits and AlBrook turned the ball over on downs.
The big drive of the game for the Cardinals started at their own 20-yard line. The drive began with big play and ended with a big play. Cody Scavezze ran option, faked the dive and found no one on the outside. He ran for 47-yards before being tackled. According to coach Gronner, Cody made such a good fake nobody knew he had the ball until they saw him running upfield.
Seven plays later, Cromwell ran into a bit of difficulty and found themselves in a fourth-and-five on the Falcon 15-yard line. Coach Bergstedt called a time out. “We called a fake option pass,” said coach Bergstedt. It was successful and resulted in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cody Scavezze to Taylor Bloemendaal and the momentum was now in the Cardinal’s favor. The defense came up with another stop and the offense continued to roll.
On the next drive, Cromwell put together an 11-play, 56-yard drive. The drive included a fourth-down pass conversion from Cody Scavezze to Lucas Johnson; a 30-yard pass play from Cody to Buck Bergstedt; and a one-yard scoring plunge by Cody for the score. The two-point conversion failed and Cromwell took a 20-8 score into halftime.
In the second half, AlBrook did manage to put together one drive, but it stalled when Lucas Johnson tackled the quarterback for no gain on fourth-and-six.
After that, both teams just traded punts and after that, both teams just traded punts and interceptions until Buck Bergstedt intercepted a ball, giving Cromwell great field position late in the fourth quarter. Cromwell then completed a one-play drive by handing off to Russell Johnson who scampered into the endzone for the score. Luke Swenson sealed the victory with a two-point run and Cromwell celebrated their 11th state tournament appearance.
The Cards will face Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Fergus Falls on Fri., Nov. 7 in Cromwell. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Cromwell faced each other in the state championship game back in 1998. Cromwell defeated Hillcrest 40-22. Since that game, Cromwell has been runner-up once in 2000 to Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Hillcrest won the championship in 2001 over Ada-Borup.
The coaches are very familiar with Hillcrest’s style of play, in fact coach Gronner’s high school team faced them many times. According to the coaches, the team will run a 3-3 defense and spread the ball out on offense. They like to pass.
At this point, the coaches are reviewing game tapes and formulating a plan that may be similar to the championship game five years ago when Cromwell set a Prep Bowl record for the most rushing attempts, 67. The record still stands. Another memory from that game is Mason Hanson’s three interceptions in the game. His record also still stands.
Same plan or not, the Cardinals are poised to return to the Metrodome.
This article first appeared in the November 4, 2003 issue of the Voyageur Press.