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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Cardinal football looking to start 4-0

By Justin Webster | Sep 12, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo No. 8 Griffin Greiner gets ahead of quarterback Trey Albert who rushes down the sideline for a Comet first down. Cardinal is trying to start 4-0 for the first time in a decade this Friday when they travel to New Sharon to face 0-3 North Mahaska.

Head Coach Landon Miller and the Cardinal Comet football team are trying to do something for the first time in a decade when they travel to New Sharon for a matchup with North Mahaska: start 4-0.

The last team to do that was the 2009 squad who defeated Van Buren 18-8 in week one, English Valleys 31-12 in week two and Lone Tree 13-6 before winning versus Winfield-Mt. Union 21-14. The downside of that season was that the Comets lost their next four games to set up a showdown with Highland, a game Cardinal won 7-0 on the final night of the season to make the playoffs. They lost in round one at BGM, Brooklyn 41-6, but that was the last Cardinal team to finish the season .500, make the playoffs and start the season 4-0.

Cardinal is heavily favored at North Mahaska who is constantly teetering on the line of Class A and 8-man football and who is 0-3 this year while being outscored 187-6.

The first real test will come in week five when the Comets host Pekin who should be 3-1 and still ranked in Class A.

Grand View Christian

Cardinal may have blown out their guests 32-0, but it was hardly that close as the score was 26-0 at the half before the slippery grass turned into a muddy pit that made it hard for either team to move laterally, let alone forward.

Senior Trey Albert spoke to The Ledger as he walked off of the field after shaking hands with the Comet faithful who had stuck around.

“I’m feeling really good and we’re playing well together even though the conditions weren’t great, we showed that we can win in any situation.”

The mobile quarterback who also punts said, “Last year was rough, but the process of getting stronger and smarter to win was worth it and I’m having fun playing all over and being out there with my guys. Next year I’ll be gone, so I’ll do anything for my brothers to win this game. We will keep working hard and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Coach Miller sees it very much the same.

“It has been a great start to the season. Our kids have been giving a lot of effort in preparation for each week. I have been really proud of the leadership that I hear and see during practice. In this game, in particular, we had some obstacles with the weather to overcome. We practiced in it during the week and stressed ball security. We also knew that if we emphasized it, we could create turnovers. It played out that way on Friday night. Hats off to our defensive coordinator, Dylan Hastings, for what he has done this year. We wanted to really focus on our defense in the off season and he did a lot of work putting that together.”

Miller also addressed the momentum that comes with a 3-0 and hopefully 4-0 start.

“When I got here the culture was not moving in a positive direction athletically. The administration at Cardinal has been amazing to work with as I have asked for a lot of changes. It is also a testament to these kids and how much they want to win football games. They do a lot of work and mental preparation to be in a position to win games. I have coached a lot of groups, and this one is special. The way they focus, prepare, and lead is fun to watch.”

Stats

Albert was 7-19 passing with 171 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 38 yards and another score, while junior Gabe Reyes carried the ball 16 times for 59 yards.

Ninth-grader Griffen Greiner had four catches for 137 yards and all three touchdowns tossed by Albert, all to the chant of, “He’s a fresh-man!” from the Comet crowd.

Reyes had one of the other catches for eight yards, while senior Braden Ridgway had the other two for 26 yards receiving.

Albert led the team in tackles with seven, while freshman Maddux Jones and junior Jarrett Rea had 5.5 each.

For good measure, Albert also had the only interceptions, although junior Jarrett Greiner, Jones and Rea each had a fumble recovery.

North Mahaska

“They have some nice players. No. 35 is tough to bring down. He is a really good runner. Against BGM I thought they really attacked on defense. We are going to have to be prepared for that on Friday night.”

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