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Cardinals' defense shines again in 35-0 victory

Brennen Rupp

The Luverne Cardinals entered Friday night’s football matchup with the Windom Area Eagles owning a 2-1 record, outscoring the opposition 54-0 in both victories.
In Windom on Friday, Oct. 30, Luverne’s defense once again held the opposing team off the scoreboard. The Cardinals’ defense picked up its third shutout of the season with a 35-0 victory over the Eagles.
“I think the main thing defensively is we have to stop the run, which is important,” Luverne head coach Todd Oye said.
“Our pass defense has been solid. Anytime you can stop the run and force teams into the strength of our defense, which I think is our pass defense, that’s the big key.”
On the first possession of the game, Luverne’s defense came up with a big play. LaShad Smith picked off a pass to set up the Cardinals near midfield.
It only took five plays for the Cardinals to capitalize on the turnover. Bailey Cowell connected with Gannon Ahrendt for a 23-yard passing touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good.
With 5:34 left in the first quarter, Luverne’s Eli Radtke recovered a Windom fumble.
Smith scored the team’s second touchdown two players later. Casey Sehr and Cowell hooked up for the two-point conversion to put the Cardinals up 14-0.
With 25 seconds left in the first half, Smith scored his second touchdown of the game. Smith’s two-yard rushing touchdown put the Cardinals up 21-0 following the extra point.
In the third quarter, Smith scored his third touchdown of the game. Following the extra point, the Cardinals led 28-0 with 59 seconds left in the quarter.
In the last two games Smith has five rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
“He has very good vision,” Oye said. “I know Homecoming week he made an effort to concentrate on what he was doing in football. I think you can see that with the way he’s played. He’s really stepped it up a level.”
Trevor Halverson wrapped up the scoring in the fourth quarter. Halverson scored from one yard out to put the Cardinals up 35-0 following the extra point.
The Cardinals finished the game with 169 rushing yards. Oye said that their success on the ground is due to the play of the offensive line.
“Those guys will say everything starts upfront,” Oye said. “They’ve had games where they’ve controlled the line of scrimmage.”
With the win the Cardinals improved to 3-1. They’ll look to pick up their third straight win on Friday, Nov. 6, at home against Redwood Valley.
“Redwood is always a balanced offense,” Oye said.
“They probably have the best passing attack that we will see all year. They do mix in the run pretty well. It should be a pretty close game. If we can run the ball and stop their rushing attack, we will hopefully have a good outcome.”
Luverne 14 7 7 7 35
Windom  0 0 0 0 0
Passing: Cowell 5-8-79-1
Rushing: L. Smith 14-86-3; Cowell 6-33-0; Halverson 4-6-1
Receiving: Cowell 2-43-0; G. Ahrendt 3-41-1
Tackles: Kruse 4.5; Overgaard 4; McCarthy 3.5; Smith 3; Baustian 3

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