A solid overall team effort helped visiting Redwood Valley top Pipestone Area 29-14 Sept. 29 in a battle of state-ranked Class AA foes.

With the win the Cardinals (5-0) stay unbeaten on the season heading into a big homecoming match-up with JCC (4-1) Oct. 6. The Huskies have dominated in their four victories but did fall 18-6 to a Blue Earth Area team that the Cardinals defeated in week two.

The Arrows (4-1), meanwhile, drop their first game of the season but are most likely on a collision course for another match-up with the Cardinals in the Section 3AA postseason.

Friday night the Cardinals fell behind 6-0 early but outscored the Arrows 29-8 the rest of the way. Redwood Valley forced five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions) and got a four touchdown effort from senior signal caller Mitch Irlbeck to secure the win.

Irlbeck scored on a pair of short touchdown runs in the second quarter – the second as part of a 10-play drive to end the first half – that gave the Cards a 14-6 lead after two quarters of play.

The Cards got the opening second half kickoff and were able to put together a solid 11-play, 74-yard drive the culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by Irlbeck.

The key play was a 27-yard completion from Irlbeck to Cole Woodford on 3rd and 14 that kept the drive alive. Woodford continues to perform at a high level. The standout junior finished the game with 10 receptions for 147 yards.

The Arrows answered back with a touchdown of their own and a two-point conversion, and the teams would head into the fourth quarter with the Cards leading 21-14. The Arrows were poised to tie things up, but a fumble on the Cardinal three yard line was recovered by Redwood Valley.

The Cards would then put things away with an impressive 10-play, 97-yard drive that included a 60-yard completion from Irlbeck to Woodford to the Pipestone six yard line.

Irlbeck would plunge in from a yard out for the final tally of the game. Woodford and Omar Arredondo both had big interceptions late in the game to seal the deal.

It was a fairly even game statistically with the Cards racking up 347 total yards (188 on the ground) compared to 362 for the Arrows (292 passing).

Irlbeck finished 12-of-21 passing for 159 yards and one interception and had 25 rushes for 96 yards and four touchdowns.

Logan Josephson added 20 carries for 87 yards, Arredondo had three carries for 10 yards, Kyle Huhnerkoch had one catch for seven yards and Tayte Harazin added one catch for five yards.

Tommy Amberg finished with six tackles (five solo), Huhnerkoch added five tackles (four solo), Josephson had five tackles (three solo) and a tackle-for-loss and Spencer Quast had four tackles (three solo). Chad Maddock added three solo tackles and two tackles-for-loss and added a blocked extra point. Redwood Valley now sits atop the South Central (White) District standings and is in a great position to earn the top seed in the upcoming Section 3AA playoffs.