Cardinals feel the excitement in the air as they prepare for first section title game since 2004

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021

It’s been quite a week for the LeRoy-Ostrander football team. The Cardinals beat their arch rival Grand Meadow in an up and down Section 1 Nine Man semifinal on Saturday, and now they are trying to focus on their biggest game in 15 years.

The Cardinals (8-2 overall) will take on top-seeded Lanesboro at Triton High School in the Section 1 Nine Man title game at 7 p.m. Friday.

It’s exciting. You can feel it in the air,” L-O head coach Trevor Carrier said. “It’s an exciting time for the community and the school, but the kids don’t really understand it to that extent. There’s not a lot of teams left playing, but it’s been business as usual for us and we haven’t changed our routine.”

The Cardinals will have their hands full with the Burros (10-0 overall) as Lanesboro relies on a heavy rushing attack. The Burros outscore their opponents on average of 49-14.4 per game.

Lanesboro beat the Cardinals 38-27 on Sept. 17 and they topped Southland 45-21 in the section semifinals. JT Rein had 227 yards and four scores in that win for Lanesboro and Seth Semmen had 223 yards rushing and two TDs.

“Lanesboro’s a very hard hitting team and they’re very determined. They’re not going to beat themselves,” Carrier said. “We’ve got to slow down their rushing attack. They want to run it with JT Rein and Seth Semmen. We’re going to have to play good fundamental football inside the box. Those two players are so dynamic and explosive.”

While the Cardinals came up short in their first matchup with Lanesboro, a lot has changed since then. L-O has moved lineman Tanner Olson to running back and his power rushing style has served as the ultimate compliment to Chase Johnson, L-O’s speedy quarterback. The Cardinals were able to use Olson to beat GM after losing to the Larks earlier this season and they’re hoping to do the same thing against the Burros, who Carrier knows will bring their best.

“Lanesboro is ranked second in the state and they’re 10-0 for a reason. They’re extremely balanced in how they handle their blocking,” Carrier said. “We’ve had a lot of changes since our first meeting.“

Lanesboro won last year’s Section 1 Nine Man title with a 16-12 win over Grand Meadow, which was missing the bulk of its lineup due to a COVID-19 contact.