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Cardinals playoff run cut off by Smith Center

Posted 11/15/2018

Senior Quarterback Hooper Schroeder capped off a stellar high school career on Friday night.  Senior Quarterback Hooper Schroeder capped off a stellar high school career on Friday night. By Bill Bush

SEDGWICK—The Sedgwick football team’s drive toward a state championship came to an end last Friday night, as the Smith Center Redmen defeated the Cardinals, 61-27.

“Both teams moved the ball all night,” Sedgwick Coach Jeff Werner said. “They just stopped us a few more times. I was proud of the team and the coaches, as we were ready to play and had a good plan.”

Sedgwick stayed close with Smith Center in the first quarter, taking an early 7-6 lead, when quarterback Hooper Schroeder hit wide receiver Cauy Root for a two-yard touchdown pass on fourth and twenty.

On the kickoff, Smith Center ran a reverse that went for 77 yards and a touchdown. The two-point conversion made it 14-7.

On their next possession, Sedgwick was forced to punt and Smith Center quickly drove the ball 77 yards on four running plays to make the score 21-7.

The Cardinals immediately answered when Hooper connected once again with Root for a 12-yard touchdown pass to pull within 21-14.

Sedgwick recovered the onside kick.

On fourth down, Hooper dove and stretched for the first down, but the Cardinals got an unfavorable spot, leaving them less than a yard short from extending the drive.

Early in the second quarter, Sedgwick’s defense returned the favor, stopping Smith Center short on fourth down.

The next three possessions changed the complexion of the game. While Sedgwick punted twice and then turned the ball over on downs, Smith Center continued to score, putting three more touchdowns on the scoreboard. The third touchdown, with 1.4 seconds remaining in the half, made the score 41-14.

“I think on Friday, we played very well at times and then had some tough stretches, versus a very good team,” Werner said. “We struggled to stop them most of the night. I thought we played very hard and competed at a high level. Smith Center made some plays on defense when we had chances to score and that was the difference in the game.”

The Cardinals played mostly even with the Redmen in the second half, but could never get themselves back into the game.

Sedgwick finished the season with an 8-2 record and matched the school’s best season by reaching the final eight teams for only the third time.

Afterwards, Werner reflected on the season and his players.
“This season was a very fun one. We really had a great season. The team did well in the off-season and it showed,” he said. “We have some great seniors that we will miss, for sure. Many of these guys have been 3-4 year starters for us. But they showed our younger players how to go about our business and to do it with a quiet confidence. Their leadership will have an impact on our team going forward. We have some really good young players and we will look to reload, this off-season. Sedgwick football is not going away, just yet!”

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