It was an historic run for the Redwood Valley football team this fall, as it captured the Section 3AA title, the South Central (White) District title and came within a play or two of the school’s first ever trip to US Bank Stadium.
In Head Coach Matt Lundeen’s 20th season at the helm of the Cardinal program, the Cards racked up 10 consecutive victories (a regular season record) before falling in a frigid nail-biter 20-12 to Minneapolis North in the Class A state quarterfinals.
The Cardinals (10-1) were dominate on defense, tying a school record for shutouts in a single season with five, including a 7-0 road shutout of Jackson County Central, ending a 14-year losing streak to the Huskies.
Redwood Valley was able to stave off rival Pipestone Area twice, once 16-14 in overtime during the regular season and then 31-30 in the Section 3AA title game in a finish that will be talked about for years.
It was a huge year for senior wideout Cole Woodford who was recently named a Mr. Football finalist. Despite opposing defenses best attempts to shut him down, Woodford still hauled in 42 catches for 738 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 15 rushes for 54 yards and was 3-of-7 passing for 107 yards and two touchdowns (both in the Cards Section 3AA title game win over Pipestone Area).
Woodford also was an outstanding punt returner, averaging 20.2 yards per return and he led the team with 1,067 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, he led the Cards with eight interceptions and had 26 tackles (17 solo), a tackle-for-loss, a recovered fumble and nine passes defensed.
Senior Alex Louwagie came in with relatively no experience and played well under center for the Cards. He finished 69-of-128 passing for 1,199 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also had 64 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Adam Bommersbach had a strong campaign at running back, rushing 108 times for 704 yards (6.5 yards per catch) and five touchdowns. He played two games on the offensive line early in the season, as the Cards were dealing with injuries.
He also was 1-of-2 passing for 54 yards and a score (the game winner versus Pipestone Area in the Section 3AA title game).
Defensively, he finished with 19 tackles (seven solo) and four tackles-for-loss. Senior Logan Prouty led the Cards in carries with 123, racking up 507 yards (4.1 ypc) including a key 85-yard scamper in the win over Waterville/Elysian-Morristown in week one.
Defensively, he led the team with 52 tackles (26 solo) and added six tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery.
Senior Kyle Huhnerkoch led the defense with 34 solo tackles (54 total), added two tackles-for-loss and an interception. Offensively, he was second on the team with 14 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown (the game-winner in OT against Pipestone Area during the regular season).
Senior Matthew Muetzel was second on the team with four receiving touchdowns, finishing with six catches for 106 yards and also had eight carries for 86 yards and a score. He was also a weapon as a punter, averaging 37.8 yards per punt with a long of 66 and seven kicks over 50 yards. Defensively, he finished with 16 tackles (seven solo) and 4 1/2 tackles-for-loss.
Senior Corbin Wabasha was part of a strong offensive/defensive line that included juniors Kaleb Haase and Chad Maddock. Wabasha finished with 47 tackles (23 solo) and eight tackles-for-loss, Haase had 42 tackles (26 solo) and 9 1/2 tackles-for-loss and Maddock added 36 tackles (13 solo), 6 1/2 tackles-for-loss and an interception.
Junior Carter Guetter had 13 catches for 267 yards and two scores and nine carries for 77 yards and a score, and senior Brennan Sander had six catches for 168 yards and two scores and also had 13 solo tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries on defense.
Senior Omar Arredondo finished with 27 carries for 156 yards and a score and defensively had 20 tackles (15 solo).
Sophomore Connor Josephson finished with 41 tackles (13 solo), two tackles-for-loss, a fumble recovery and added a blocked kick return for a touchdown. Fellow sophomore Carter Johnson had 34 tackles (15 solo), four tackles-for-loss, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Senior Tayte Harazin finished with 30 tackles (16 solo) and a fumble recovery. Senior Josiah Hultquist added 18 tackles and three tackles-for-loss, Jaxon Lang had 18 tackles and a fumble recovery and Michael Mace had 14 tackles and 3 1/2 tackles-for-loss and was also the Cards starting center.
Junior Jed Hansen added an interception and six tackles, and Jordan Mertens had a blocked punt return for a touchdown. Collin Wells was 5-of-13 passing for 106 yards and an interception, and Bryant Haas was 8-of-16 for 65 yards.
Kicker Stian Vralstad finished 14-of-18 on extra point attempts and was 1-of-3 on field goal attempts.
The Cardinals outscored opponents 253-104, averaging 23 points per game while allowing just 9.5 ppg.
Offensively, the Cardinals ran for more yardage (1,815-1,291) and threw for more yardage (1,537-1,179) despite running 76 fewer plays than a season ago.
Redwood Valley established dominance in the first half of most games, scoring 140 points while allowing just 41. The Cardinals also outscored opponents 59-27 in the third quarter.
The Cards scored 46 points off of turnovers while allowing just six and scored touchdowns on 53 percent of their red zone opportunities while surrendering touchdowns just 35 percent of the time.
Redwood Valley says goodbye to a strong group of 17 seniors, but the talent pool remains rich.
The Cards – who have reached the Section 3AA title game for four straight seasons – should be right back in the mix for yet another state tournament berth in 2019.