The Dell Rapids St Mary Cardinal football team ended their regular season with a win at Estelline on Friday, October 14th. The Cardinals turned a defensive battle into a 36-18 victory over the Estelline/Hendricks Redhawks on a cold and windy night.
The two defenses were the story in the first half. Neither team was able to get anything going until the final two minutes of the second quarter. St Mary drove the ball over 80 yards in less than two minutes. They broke a 0-0 tie when CJ Smith scored on a four-yard run with just :20 left in the half. The Cardinals led just 6-0 at halftime.
St Mary made all the necessary adjustments at halftime. On the very first play of the third quarter, Nic Gaspar had a 55-yard touchdown run. The made two-point conversion gave the Cardinals a 14-0 lead with 11:50 in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, Smith connected with Tate Bunkers on a 34-yard touchdown pass. Camden Gilbert scored the two-point conversion, and with 6:55 in the quarter, St Mary led 22-0. The Redhawks got on the board on a 61-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the third to cut the lead to 22-6.
Gaspar extended the St Mary lead to 30-6 with a three-yard touchdown with 8:54 to play. The final two and a half minutes of the game were filled with touchdowns. The Redhawks scored on a 16-yard run with 2:16 left for a 30-12 score. The Cardinals answered nine seconds later on a 54-yard run by Gaspar. Estelline/Hendricks got another touchdown with 1:19 left in the game for a 36-18 final score.
St Mary finished with 432 yards of offense, 331 rushing yards and 101 passing yards. The Redhawks had 300 yards of offense, 221 rushing yards and 79 passing yards.
Smith was 5-13 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown. Gaspar had three catches for 67 yards. Bunkers had a catch for 34 yards and a touchdown. Bunkers also had 10 carries for 84 yards. Gaspar had 19 carries for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Smith finished with six carries for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Gaspar also finished the game with 11 tackles. Wyatt Geraets had nine tackles and a sack. Lincoln LeBrun also had nine tackles. Gabe Lindeman had seven tackles and two sacks. Trimmier Hanson added five tackles.
“The kids played hard tonight. I felt our offensive line played very well and our defensive line game them fits. It was a total team effort to get a big win,” said head coach Ross Flemmer.
St Mary finishes the regular season with a 4-4 record. The Cardinals will travel to Faith for the opening round of the 9B playoffs on Thursday, October 20th.