ELDON, IA – The Cardinal Comets (4-2, 2-1 1A-6) got back on track after last week’s road loss at Mediapolis with an emphatic home victory, 74-0, over Van Buren County (1-4, 0-3 1A-6) on Friday night. The outburst of points is the most scored by a Cardinal football team in at least the past 14 seasons, dating back to 2006. So too is the 74-point margin of victory. After a slow first quarter where the Comets held a 6-0 lead, the scarlet and white exploded with a 40-point second quarter to take at 46-0 lead into half time. They never looked back with another 20 points in the 3rd quarter, followed by the exclamation point in the fourth to secure the big win.
The Comets welcomed back quarterback Maddux Jones to guide the offense against the Warriors, and the 6’2 junior responded well accounting for 6 total touchdowns including 5 through the air. The Cardinal offense was unstoppable on this night. Not only did the passing attack shine to the tune of 293 yards, but the Comets also had their best rushing output of the season with 181 yards on the ground, led by junior Ian Liles toting the rock 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The night, though, belonged to Jones and his talented receiving core as the lanky right-hander finished the game 17-19 passing for 293 yards and five touchdowns to three different receivers: Griffin Greiner (3), Liles (1), and Landon Becker (1).
The Comet defense also shined in keeping Van Buren County off the scoreboard, their first shutout of the season. The defensive line as stout against the rushing attack of the Warriors, while the defensive backs did not allow receivers to find openings in the secondary in the play action game. In the second quarter, junior Blaine Bryant picked up bad exchange between Warrior quarterback Lane Davis and tailback Wyatt Mertens and returned it 32 yards for Comet touchdown. Not to be outdone in the third quarter, Becker produced his own scoop-n-score, recovering a bad pitch and taking it back to the end zone for a 35-yard score.
It was a complete game for Cardinal as the Comets also made a big play on special teams late in the second quarter. A Griffin Greiner kickoff was not picked up by a pair of Warrior returners at the 7-yard line, Liles raced downfield and fell on the loose ball. The third forced turnover in the first half by Cardinal led to a touchdown reception for Liles on the last play before half time to cap off the huge 40-point second quarter.
The final regular season game will be next week as the Comets will host undefeated and fourth-ranked Sigourney-Keota (6-0, 4-0) in Eldon. The Cobras are coming off a big 31-14 win over the Mediapolis Bulldogs on Friday night. Van Buren County returns home as well to wrap up the regular season versus the Pekin Panthers (2-3, 1-2 1A-6) who earned a road win at Louisa-Muscatine Friday night, 38-12.
Maddux Jones 17-19 293 yards 5 TD
Ian Liles 18 carries 84 yards 1 TD
Maddux Jones 6 carries 57 yards 1 TD
Griffin Greiner 1 carry 30 yards 1 TD
Ian Liles 6 catches 94 yards 1 TD
Blaine Bryant 5 catches 78 yards
Griffin Greiner 4 catches 66 yards 3 TD
Landon Becker 2 catches 55 yards 1 TD
Written by Ryan Morgan.