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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Section title #13

Section title #13
by John Grones  |  November 7, 2006

Earlier in the season, the Cromwell Cardinals and the McGregor Mercuries were undefeated. The first  confrontation between the two teams went to Cromwell 26-0. From that point on both teams went undefeated, and the question was. . . which team improved the most.

That question was answered on Friday, November 3, when the two teams met for the Section 5, 9-man title game. Cromwell dominated the first half with a 35-6 performance and cruised to the 48-6 final.

The win put Cromwell in the Minnesota State Football Tournament for the 13th time in the last 18 years.

The Cardinal victory was one of the best team performances of the season. Senior end, Jordan Johnson, had a career high 103 yards receiving on four catches, including two for touchdowns; Johny Richards ran 11 times for 122 yards; Logan Shiflett led his team with 17 tackles; and Cody Hendrickson was his usual self — he passed for 129 yards, rushed for 70, had 13 tackles, intercepted one pass, recovered a fumble and  scored three touchdowns.

Cromwell also got great rushing performances by Johny Richards and John Hedin. Johny rushed for 122 yards and John punched in two more touchdowns. Mario Olensci had a perfect kicking night  and then to top things off, Evans Hakamaki and Taylor Forconi played outstanding on the  line. “Our line was excellent,” said Logan. “They stood them [Mercury players] up, and I just came in and made the tackles.”

Cody agreed. “Hacks [Evans Hakamaki] and Cones [Taylor Forconi] dominated the line,” he added.

The line play produced several touchdowns in the first half. The first was a Cody Hendrickson 27-yard touchdown run. The line opened a hole and Cody did the rest. Exchange student Mario Olensci from Brazil came in and added the extra point.

The Cardinal scoring continued primarily because the defense shut down McGregor’s high powered running game.

Cromwell’s offense tore up the Mercurie’s secondary. The second drive for the Cardinals featured Jordan Johnson. The senior caught a 20-yard pass on third down and 11 and then later scored on a 25-yard strike from Cody.

The third drive almost stalled in McGregor’s half of the field, but Cody hooked up with Levi Sheff for 20 yards on a fourth down and seven play. They would later score on a John Hedin 7 yard score to end the first quarter scoring at 21-0.

McGregor made things interesting in the second quarter. The key play for the Mercuries was a 43-yard pass from Luke Sorensen to Nick Belz. The ball came down right between Nick and Cromwell corner back Levi Sheff. Nick wrestled the ball away for the completion.

On the next play, Luke ran a bootleg around the left side for the 14-yard score. The 2-point conversion failed and Cromwell’s lead  closed to 21-6.

The glimmer of hope for the Mercuries died later in the second quarter. Cromwell came right back with two more touchdowns. Jordan Johnson was the key receiver. He caught a pass for 36 yards and followed that up with another touchdown catch. From 20 yards out, he made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone for the score.

Cromwell added one more touchdown before the half, and the Cardinals scored early in the second half to put the game away.

In addition to Jordan’s tremendous offensive night, he was also a force on defense. He had another opportunity to score on defense. Following a punt that was blocked by Johny Richards, Jordan scooped up the ball, but tripped over an opponents’ legs.

“I thought I threw the tackler out of the way,” said Jordan, “and I’m looking up field. It was touchdown all the way. All of a sudden either he grabbed my foot or I’m an idiot and fell.”

Jordan talked about his excellent receiving game. “It was my last game on that field, and I wanted to end it with a good one.”

All totaled, it was a tremendous team effort. Logan Shiflett was the leading tackler with 17. He was followed by Cody Hendrickson with 13 and Tyler Burgraff with 12. Taylor Forconi and Grant Odegaard added seven each. Tyler had a pair of sacks and Taylor added one.

Cody Hendrickson had an interception and a fumble recovery. Johny Richards blocked a punt.

Cromwell (11-0) will now face the Mountain Iron-Buhl Rangers (11-0) in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 24 at Virginia High School.

The Cardinals and Rangers have very similar teams. Come out and support the team. An excellent game is expected.

This article first appeared in the November 7 issue of the Voyageur Press.