The Dell Rapids St Mary Cardinal football made the long trip west to Faith for the second time in three playoffs seasons on Thursday, October 20th. And just like their last trip, the Cardinals came home with a playoff win. St Mary advanced to the 9B quarterfinals with a 30-20 win over the Longhorns.
The Cardinals delivered a big blow to the Longhorns in the first six minutes of the game. CJ Smith had a big kickoff return to the Faith 11 yard line to start the game, and on the very next play, Nic Gaspar scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. Smith connected with Camden Gilbert for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead. The defense forced Faith to punt after three plays, and on the next drive, the Cardinals scored again. Smith threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Flemmer, and with 7:30 left in the first quarter, the Cardinals led 14-0.
Faith got on the board towards the end of the first quarter. The Longhorns scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 14-6. St Mary was able to extended the lead early in the second quarter. Gaspar had a 35-yard touchdown run, and then Flemmer scored the two-point conversion to make the score 22-6. The Longhorns scored again with 9:00 to go in the half on a three-yard run. A made two-point conversion made the score 22-14.
The score remained 22-14 at halftime and all through the third quarter as the two defenses played strong at that point in the game. Faith looked to be gaining some momentum early in the fourth quarter when they scored on an eight-yard pass on fourth down with 8:30 to play. The two-point conversion was stopped keeping the Cardinals in front 22-20. St Mary was able to deliver the knockout punch late in the game on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Gabe Lindeman. They connected again on the two-point conversion to give the Cardinals a 30-20 lead.
St Mary finished with 304 yards of total offense, 209 rushing yards and 95 passing yards. The Longhorns had 237 yards of offense, 140 rushing yards and 97 passing yards.
Smith was 3-7 passing for 90 yards, and Owen Vargas was 1-2 passing for five yards. Lindeman had two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Flemmer had 2 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Gaspar finished with 20 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Tate Bunkers had five carries for 29 yards, and Flemmer had six carries for 16 yards.
Lindeman finished the game with 11.5 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble on defense. Gaspar had two tackles and two pass break-ups. Gilbert added seven tackles and an interception. Lincoln LeBrun had four tackles. Flemmer finished with four tackles and a forced fumble. Maverick LeBrun added three tackles, a fumble recovery, and a pass break-up.
“The boys played hard. We overcame some injuries and came out with a total team effort win. I couldn’t be more proud of how the guys played,” said head coach Ross Flemmer.
St Mary will travel to Hitchock to play the #2 seeded Hitchcock/Tulare Patriots in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, October 27th.