A school record 40-yard field goal by Lukas Vieth with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter helped Redwood Valley escape with a 16-13 victory over host Montevideo Tuesday night in a Section 3AAA quarterfinal thriller.
After losing twice this season on the leg’s of opposing kicker’s, the Cardinals (4-5) flipped the tables this time thanks to the left-footed German import Vieth who calmly booted the longest field goal in school history. The win sends the Cardinals into the Section 3AAA semifinals for the second straight season.
“Overall I thought it was a great team victory,”?Coach Matt Lundeen said,?“I thought defensively we did a nice job of bending but not breaking and in the end we made the plays to win the game.”
It was an interesting first half as the T-Hawks (5-4) put together a long, 97-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Troy Hendrickson to Tom Grages for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kick-off, Trevor Sandgren bobbled the ball but recovered and found a seam on the way to a 98-yard kick-off return for a touchdown that tied the score at seven.
At the end of the second quarter, the Cards capped off a nice two-minute drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Shane Johnson to Jesse Leith with 1.5 seconds left in the half to go up 13-7 at the break.
The Cardinals ran just 17 offensive plays in the first half but still held the lead.
Following a Cardinal punt early in the third quarter, the T-Hawks put together an 83-yard scoring drive as Hendrickson hit Grages on a 20-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-5. The extra point attempt was no good and the two teams would head into the fourth quarter tied at 13.
With under ten minutes to play, the Cardinals put together a drive that went all the way down to the Montevideo 11-yard line but on 4th-and-1 a fumbled hand-off would turn the ball over on downs giving the T-Hawks the ball on the 14-yard line.
The Cardinals would hold on defense and a high snap on a Montevideo punt attempt allowed the Cards to take possession on the T-Hawks 24-yard line.
Unfortunately, three plays would pick up just one yard but Vieth’s clutch 40-yard field goal would bail the Cards out, giving them a 16-13 lead with just over six minutes to play.
Montevideo would have two more possessions, creeping into Cardinal territory on both occasions but an incomplete pass on the first series and an Erich Panitzke INT on the last would seal the deal for the Cards and move them into the semifinals.
Statistically it was a quiet night for the Cardinal offense but for the second straight game, Johnson did a nice job of protecting the football and making the plays when they were there.
He would finish 9-of-20 passing for 122 yards and a touchdown and added 14 carries for 54 yards.
Panitzke had another strong outing with six receptions for 84 yards, Leith added two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown and Dominic Sweetman had seven carries for 11 yards.
Montevideo finished with 349 total yards compared to 188 for the Cards and had eight more first downs (18-10) but Redwood Valley won the special teams battle.
Defensive stats were unavailable.
Winning is the good news. The bad news? The Cardinals will now move on to face Class 3AAA No. 1 ranked and defending state champion Glencoe/Silver Lake Saturday at 3 p.m. in Glencoe.
The Panthers (9-0) destroyed eighth-seed Watertown-Mayer 42-0 Tuesday night for its sixth shutout in nine games.
Defensively the Panthers are allowing a high school league low 2 ppg and have given up seven points just once this season while outscoring opponents 287-19.
Fairmont will host Dassel/Cokato in the other semifinal.