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Vikings start season with loss to Eleva-Strum Cardinals

STRUM — Playing its opening game on the road against the Eleva-Strum Cardinals August 21, the Colfax football team fell behind early and didn’t have the manpower to come back from the deficit and lost 46-8.

With several players having to miss the first three games of the season due to various reasons, head coach Mark Maloney had to use a few freshmen to help out, and with a couple of more starters coming out of the game with injuries, the Vikings were down to the bare bones by the end of the contest.

The Cardinals struck quickly, when on their second play from scrimmage, Jedediah Lorenz raced down the sideline for a 72-yard score for a 6-0 lead at the 11:09 mark.

Colfax had a pretty good drive going on their opening possession but a dropped pass and a penalty ended it.

E-S scored twice more in the first quarter on a 20-yard run and two-point conversion and a one-yard run for a 22-0 lead.

The Vikings’ defense held its own in the second quarter and didn’t give up any points, but a pass from quarterback Jarrod Rudi was picked off by the Cardinals and taken to the end zone from 65 yards out for a 30-0 halftime lead.

Lorenz broke off another long TD run, this time from 70 yards out early in the third stanza and another running TD with 1:39 left in the quarter made it 46-0.

With Rudi on the sidelines dealing with leg cramps, and lineman Nate Polden also coming off with an injury, Jacob Steinke, the starting wide receiver took over at quarterback and the Vikings put a drive together. Eventually, Austin Dressel scored his first varsity points on a three-yard run and freshman Luke Heidorn ran in the two-point conversion for his own first varsity points to avoid the shutout.

“As crazy as it may sound, we didn’t play all that bad,” Maloney said.

“We are using an up tempo offense this year but because of our lack of depth, our players were just worn out by the fourth quarter. Most of them had to play on both sides of the ball and on special teams and that takes a toll on them.”

“E-S broke off that long run right away and we couldn’t recover. We made adjustments on defense and held them down pretty well for two quarters but they have a lot of fire power and we just couldn’t keep up with them,” continued Maloney.

“Our offense was out of sync with starters getting hurt, but our kids kept their heads up and never stopped playing. We’ll have to change things a bit when we play at Ellsworth next week,” he added.

Rudi rushed eight times for 121 yards before leaving the game, Steinke reeled off 80 yards on eight carries and Dressel collected 36 yards on nine rushes.

Rudi was 12 for 22 passing for 95 yards and Heidorn was 2 for 2 for four yards. Mitchell Kiekhafer snared seven passes for 41 yards, Steinke grabbed three for 25 yards and John Welk caught two for 27 yards.

Zach Meyer led the Vikings in tackles with seven to go with five from Ben Christianson and three each by Tyler Dawson, Kiekhafer, Welk and Alex Sykora.

The Cardinal team rushed for over 400 yards by 10 different players and attempted just one pass in the game.

The Vikings travel to Ellsworth from the Middle Border Conference this Friday night. Last year’s scheduled game against them was canceled due to lightning.

Note: In last week’s football preview, Tucker Teige’s name was omitted as one of the graduating seniors gone from last season. The Messenger regrets the error.