Despite a less than auspicious beginning the Redwood Valley Cardinals pulled away in the second half en route to a 35-14 win over visiting GFW Oct. 27 in Section 3AA semifinal action.
The Cardinals (9-0) will now move on to the Section 3AA title game and a highly anticipated rematch with rival Pipestone Area (8-2) at 7 p.m. Friday night (Nov. 2) in Marshall.
The Arrows rolled to a 35-0 win over TMB in its semifinal game and have scored 107 points in its two Section playoff wins.
Earlier this season the Cardinals held off the Arrows 16-14 in overtime on the way to winning the South Central (White) District crown.
The Arrows two losses on the season were by a combined three points, losing to the Cardinals and Jackson County Central (14-13).
A season ago the Cardinals defeated the Arrows 29-14 in the regular season but fell 20-17 in overtime in the Section 3AA title game and then watched as the Arrows advanced all the way to the Class AA state championship game.
The Cards also faced the Arrows in the 2015 Section title game, falling 31-7 to another strong Arrow team that made it all the way to the state championship.
Saturday against the T-Birds (5-5), the Cardinals had some early struggles defensively trying to shut down GFW’s potent rushing attack. The T-Birds would come out and immediately take control on a five-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a 51-yard touchdown run by Munoz.
The Cardinal offense would then go 3-and-out, and the T-Birds would put together a 13-play, 91-yard drive that ended on a 10-yard run from Lavrenz to make it 14-0.
The Cardinals – allowing just five points per game all season long – appeared to be stymied on how to stop the T-Birds but would regroup and regain control thanks to the combo of Alex Louwagie and Cole Woodford.
A 43-yard run by Matthew Muetzel eventually set up a second quarter touchdown on a six-yard pass from Louwagie to Woodford in the back left corner of the end zone.
Following a T-Bird punt the Cards would score again, this time on a 74-yard fade pass from Louwagie to Woodford that saw Woodford make a leaping grab and run for the score.
The two teams would head into the half tied at 14 but the Cards would reclaim control early in the third. Louwagie would hit Muetzel on a 27-yard touchdown strike just four minutes into the second half to go up 20-14.
On the Cards second offensive possession of the half Louwagie would hit senior Brennan Sander on a 66-yard touchdown strike to up the lead to 28-14.
The Cardinal defense would not allow the T-Birds to get any rhythm in the second half, and senior Omar Arredondo would cap things off with a 46-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Cards would finish with 411 yards of total offense (207 passing) compared to 323 for the T-Birds (314 rushing).
Louwagie had a big day going 6-of-11 for 207 yards and four scores and had six carries for 20 yards.
Woodford had two catches for 80 yards and two scores, Sander had once catch for 66 yards and a score, Muetzel had one catch for 27 yards and a score and Kyle Huhnerkoch added one catch for 26 yards.
Arredondo had two carries for 57 yards and a score, Adam Bommersbach added eight carries for 51 yards, Muetzel had two carries for 46 yards, Logan Prouty added seven carries for 25 yards and Carter Guetter had two carries for seven yards.
Huhnerkoch paced the defense with 11 tackles (eight solo). Kaleb Haase added eight tackles (five solo) and a tackle-for-loss, Carter Johnson had 10 tackles (three solo) and 1 1/2 tackles-for-loss, Prouty added nine tackles (three solo) and a tackle-for-loss, Woodford had six tackles (three solo) and Chad Maddock added six tackles and a tackle-for-loss.