Saturday, September 7th, 2019

Cardinals pull away to defeat Tigers

By Gary R. Rasberry

Ansonia quarterback Isaac Barga (14) gets rid of the ball as he is hit by New Br. . .

NEW BREMEN - Ansonia got one big drive to take an early lead.
Then the New Bremen defense shut down the Tigers and the Cardinals offense got busy.
After spotting the Tigers the early score, New Bremen took the lead before the half and then pulled away in the second half en route to a 34-6 win at Cardinals Stadium on Friday to improve to 2-0 heading into Midwest Athletic Conference play.
"We couldn't get anything going or any positive plays back to back," said New Bremen coach Chris Schmidt. "Give credit to Ansonia (1-1). Their kids played really hard. … We had to start getting momentum. Once we did, we got things going a bit."    
The Cardinals' opening drive was halted when quarterback Mitchell Hays lost the ball after a nine-yard run to the Ansonia 26 as Brock Shellhaas recovered the fumble.
The Tigers took their time on their opening drive, giving New Bremen a healthy dose of running from Reece Stammen, who carried 13 times on the drive. Ansonia took 10:35 off the clock with a 20-play drive, with every yard earned on the ground. Stammen ended the drive with 11:20 remaining in the second quarter on a four-yard run, but the point-after try didn't even get to the line of scrimmage, leaving the Tigers with a 6-0 lead.
The Cardinals' next drive sputtered out after a great return by Zach Bertke to the Ansonia 41. Hays tried to get a yard on a fourth-and-1 at the Tiger 32 but was stopped at the line of scrimmage. On the ensuing Tiger drive, the Cardinals were able to recover, forcing a punt.
After New Bremen punted and then stopped a Tiger drive via a punt. Hays took the snap at the Cardinals 42, found several holes and broke a couple tackles to take the ball to the end zone on a 58-yard run. Owen Gabel's point-after was good to put the Cardinals up 7-6 with 4:18 left in the half. The Tigers managed to get to their 48 on the ensuing drive, but punted away with nine seconds left. A Hays kneel-down send the game to the half.
After gaining 56 yards on 13 carries on the opening drive, the Cardinals held Stammen to just 19 yards the rest of the game.
"My fear coming into the game was we were playing against a totally different offense this week from last week. You couldn't get much more different," said Schmidt, referring Ansonia's run-based offense to Ada's spread. "Ansonia is good at what they do. They've done it for a long time. That first drive they took it to us. Fortunately the kids were able to adjust. … We were able to bottle them up for the most part."
The Cardinals picked up the momentum in the third quarter after stopping Ansonia on its opening drive. Hays and Wyatt Dicke picked up steady yardage on the ground before Hays tallied his second touchdown of the night, a six-yard run to make it 14-6 with 3:54 remaining in the quarter.
The Tigers punted on their next series. This time, Zach Bertke found the open field and took it to the house for a 53-yard run with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 20-6.
The Cardinals also scored from the air, as Hays, who completed just one pass in the win over Ada in the season opener, connected with Bertke for a 25-yard score on a fourth-and-10 play with nine minutes left in the game. Dicke wrapped up the scoring with a 16-yard run with five minutes remaining.
"One of the strengths of this team is we feel comfortable getting the ball in a lot of different kids' hands and trusting them to make plays," said Schmidt. "It was nice to see multiple kids make plays."
Hays rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns for New Bremen and was 5-of-9 passing for 89 yards. Bertke added 96 yards and Dicke tallied all 75 of his yards in the second half.
New Bremen opens MAC play next Friday at Booster Field in Anna against the 2-0 Rockets.
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