One of the first rules students learn when they begin kindergarten deals with sharing with others. The current group of Colfax football players seemed to really take that lesson to heart as five different players scored at least once in a 42-6 rout over the Eleva-Strum Cardinals in the opening game of the season Aug. 22 in Colfax.
The Cardinals were coming off a 2-7 season with one of those losses to the Vikings, 26-0 in the opener last season. But Colfax used their speed and big offensive lineman to score four rushing touchdowns to pave the way for the win. After Zach Meyer came up with the first big defensive play of the game for the Vikings, a fumble recovery on the Cardinals 24 yard line on the third play of the game, Jeremiah Wait, Andrew Adix and Sawyer DeMoe took turns running the ball and on third and seven from the seven, quarterback Jarrod Rudi found receiver Jacob Steinke in the corner of the end zone for six points. Rudi, kicking extra points for the first time for the varsity, booted the first of six extra points of the game for a 7-0 lead with 8:15 on the clock.
The Cardinals were forced to punt on their next possession and the Vikings took over on their own 17. Running plays by Wait and Adix moved the ball to the Cardinal 32 then Aliymu Davis broke off a 24 yard run down the left sideline to the eight yard line. Wait then took the ball in thanks to key blocks by Trevor Olson and Andrew Adix and the Rudi kick made it 14-0 halfway through the quarter.
Forced into a fourth and long after a penalty, Cardinal quarterback Jake Matchey attempted a pass and Davis read the play perfectly as he stepped in front of the ball for a pick six from 37 yards out. Rudi’s boot made it 21-0 with 2:32 still left in the first stanza.
The Vikings defense continued to step up in the second quarter as Jon Hayton tackled a Cardinal runner for a loss and Steinke knocked down a pass attempt, forcing another punt. Starting at their own 25, Wait and Adix ground out some yards and with help by two E-S penalties, the Vikings had the ball near midfield. On second down, Rudi came up with his own version of the “fumblerooski” as he fumbled the snap, picked it up off the ground and zipped down the left sideline for a 46 yard touchdown. He added the kick for the 28-0 lead at the 8:59 mark of the quarter.
The Cardinals weren’t down and out yet however, as they nearly returned the kickoff back, but DeMoe chased the runner down at the Cardinal 47. They picked up three first downs in the drive and made it to the Viking’s 21 but on third and seven, Rudi knocked down a Cardinal pass and a fourth down attempt was broken up by Steinke.
Taking over on downs, Wait caught the Cardinals napping and scampered for a 34 yard run, Davis appeared to be tripped up and regained his balance for a 41 yard blast and Adix took the ball to paydirt from two yards out and the kick made it 35-0 to end the half.
“Our front line did a phenomenal job opening holes for our backs all night,” Colfax coach Mark Maloney said. “They held their blocks and allowed the runners to find a hole. We showed speed and strength by several different backs which made it hard for Eleva-Strum to shut us down. And key plays by our defense set the offense up,” he added.
Colfax put their final points up on their first possession of the third quarter when a 63 yard drive culminated in Wait’s second TD of the night from 13 yards out. Rudi ran for a pair of first downs in the drive and Steinke snared a pass for a 21 yard diving reception.
The Cardinals finally took the gooseegg off their side of the board as they started a drive in the third quarter and continued it into the fourth. After 13 plays, starting at their own 35, they scored on a quarterback keeper from two yards out. The two point conversion run was stuffed by Olson to make the score 42-6 with 8:50 left in the game
Several players got into the action the rest of the game as Cole-Anderson Olson and Nate Polden along with Davis carried the ball down to the Cardinal 13 yard line before being stopped on a fourth down. The Cardinals were looking for another quick score before the game ended but Mitchell Kiekhafer dragged down their runner who was headed down the sideline to make sure it didn’t happen.
Wait finished with 146 yards on 15 carries, Davis ran for 101 yards on just five attempts, Rudi added 47 yards on two carries and Adix added 20 on seven attempts. Rudi was two for two passing and completed both of them to Steinke for 28 yards.
Colfax will face a tougher test when they host Ellsworth, last year’s Middle Border Conference champions, this Friday night. The Panthers were 7-0 in conference and 11-1 overall.
“Ellsworth lost a lot of players but we know with their good program, they will have replacements,” Maloney said. “We expect them to be tough and we hope we can prepare for them.”