Better late than never.

That’s the motto for the Redwood Valley football team as they open up the 2020 regular season Friday night (Oct. 9) in Windom.

From potentially no season at all, to a move to March, to a recently allowed restart, veteran Head Coach Matt Lundeen has had his team on alert and ready to go through all the uncertainty.

“This is obviously as unique of a fall as I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “We’ve been of the mindset since August that whenever they tell us we can play we’re gonna be ready to play.”

The Cardinals will open with Windom Area before returning home to face rival Pipestone Area in week two.

They then face a tough stretch with games against Blue Earth Area, Jackson County Central and Luverne before wrapping up against Martin County West.

BEA (a top four team in Class AA according Lundeen), JCC and Luverne were not originally on the schedule but will give the season more of an old school Southwest Conference feel.

“It’s a good, tough schedule,” Lundeen said. “We’ll have to be ready to go each week knowing the quality of opponents we’re gonna face.”

A year ago the Cards went 7-3, falling to Pipestone Area 26-21 in the Section 3AA title game.

Gone from that team are big men Chad Maddock and Kaleb Haase as well as quarterback Bryant Haas and running back/linebacker Adam Bommersbach to name a few.

That said, the Cards have some nice returning players at the skill positions led by junior Alex Lang under center. Lang saw action at quarterback a year ago and is an athletic presence who can make plays with both his arms and legs.

Senior running backs Carter Johnson and Jaxon Lang give Lundeen some solid, hard-nosed talent at the position, and senior Connor Josephson is a veteran as the Cards top wideout.

Other wide receivers who should contribute include: Jahger Bill, Zach Reck, Carter Peterson and Nolan Menz. Peterson could also see time at wingback along with Carson Woodford (battling a groin injury), Drew Lundeen, Andrew Stephens, Aeneas Pacheco and athletic sophomore Evan Cooper.

Isaac Louwagie will back-up Lang at quarterback.

There will be a lot of new faces on the offensive line which will be anchored by senior Bo Evans at center. Matthew Prouty and Riley Dikken will line up at guard along with newcomer Sam Jeffrey.

Lane Evans, Austin Altmann, Killean Lidbeck and Nolan Smith will see time at offensive tackle.

“We’re gonna run a totally different offense than what we’ve run in the past,” Lundeen said. “We had to adjust and modify but with the guys we’ve got we think we can create some mismatches.”

Defensively, the Cards will be led by Josephson (S) and Lang (CB) in the secondary along with Lang, Johnson and Peterson at linebacker. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 football, Lundeen is optimistic that his team is ready to go.

“We’re definitely excited to get out and play,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for our guys and we’re looking forward to heading to Windom on Friday.”

The home games will be limited to 250 people total, making it tough for normal Cardinal boosters to attend games.

That said, Redwood Valley is partnering with the NFHS Network and has invested in new technology that will stream games live from the gymnasium and football field.

To watch, simply go to www.NFHSnetwork.com, search for the Redwood Valley High School page and then subscribe and follow.