Football Cards hammer East

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Brennan Schmitt threw three touchdowns as Middleton's football team rolled past Madison East, 42-21, Friday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Efficient. Systematic. Methodical.

And in the end, remarkably successful.

This was the story of Middleton’s offense during an extremely impressive 42-21 victory over host Madison East Friday night. The Cardinals’ No. 1 offense scored touchdowns on all six of their drives in a workmanlike manner.

Middleton had just three plays of more than 20 yards all night. Instead, the Cardinals were meticulous in both the details and in their execution and slowly dismantled an overmatched East squad.

Middleton improved to 3-0 overall and in the Big Eight Conference, while East fell to 2-1. The Cardinals now travel to Madison La Follette (3-0) Friday at 7 p.m. in a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in the Big Eight.

“We’ll take that,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said when told his No. 1 offense was 6-for-6 finding the endzone. “It was out best effort of the year.”

Indeed.

Cardinals senior quarterback Brennan Schmitt was extremely sharp, completing 14-of-17 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Schmitt connected on his final six passes and 11-of-12 at one stretch.

Senior running back Cam Maly had three touchdown runs of his own. Maly carried 34 times for 160 yards (4.70 average) and wore down the East defense.

Middleton’s No. 1 offense was also an amazing 11-for-11 on third down conversions, including 8-of-8 in the first half.

“That was really fun,” Maly said. “It’s just an awesome feeling when you get going like that.

“We made it a goal on the sideline sometime in the second half to score every time we had the ball. That was pretty awesome.”

Middleton’s proficient offense affected the game in two ways.

Not only did the Cardinals light up the scoreboard, they kept East’s high-powered attack on the sideline. Middleton held the ball 16 minutes, 43 seconds in the first half and 24:24 through three quarters when the game was largely decided.

The only downfall to the night was a pair of knee injuries suffered by senior linebacker Travis Raffel and junior defensive end Nate Helbach. The severity of each wasn’t known immediately after the game.

“We knew how good East’s offense is and they run a lot of plays and score a lot of points,” Schmitt said. “Our plan was to run some clock and in some ways, our best defense was an efficient offense.”

Middleton’s defense was awfully impressive itself.

The Purgolders are prep football’s version of Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles. East plays up-tempo, doesn’t let you substitute and tries wearing out its foes.

The Purgolders played without standout quarterback Ruben Arndt. But there wasn’t much of a dropoff to impressive backup Keonte Schad (6-3, 230), a physically imposing played who can beat teams with his arm and legs.

“It was a little bit like Ohio State,” Simon said. “There really was no dropoff.”

Middleton sacked Schad six times, though, and held the Purgolders to 122 first half yards. By late in the third quarter, East had scored on just one of its five possessions and trailed, 35-7.

The Purgolders racked up some yards in the fourth quarter against many MHS reserves. By that time, though, the damage had been done.

“We wanted to take away their running game first,” Middleton senior standout linebacker Garrett Graf said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that. That makes things a lot easier.”

Middleton’s offensive domination made life easier for everyone.

In the first half alone, the Cardinals had touchdown drives of 63, 77 and 74 yards and scored on all three of their possessions.

On Middleton’s opening drive, it marched 63 yards in 14 plays and Maly capped the march with a 3-yard touchdown run. Cardinals fullback Noah Helbach, running back Hunter Ziegler and center William Braxton all made key blocks on the touchdown run.

Middleton went a perfect 5-for-5 on third downs during the drive, which took 6:57 off the clock and gave the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.

Middleton’s second possession was equally impressive, as it covered 77 yards in 12 plays and took 5:27 off the clock. Schmitt found senior wideout Sam Lauenstein in the back left corner of the endzone for a 17-yard TD to give the Cardinals a 14-0 lead.

Maly ran for 27 yards on the drive, Noah Helbach rumbled for 12 yards on a critical third-and-6, and the offense converted both of its third downs.

“We really challenged the offense to move the chains,” Simon said. “East’s offense is really potent, so to keep them on the sidelines was big.”

After East pulled within 14-7 late in the first half, the Cardinals answered back. This time, Schmitt and Bacon hooked up for an 8-yard touchdown to cap an eight-play, 64-yard march.

Schmitt was terrific on the drive, completing 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards. And his touchdown pass to Bacon — which came on an inside slant route — came with just 28 seconds left in the half.

“Brennan’s getting a lot better,” Maly said of Schmitt. “From the first week compared to now, he’s getting better every day.”

Middleton continued to pile it on in the second half.

The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 12 plays, eating up another 5:19 in the process. Maly was a beast with 65 yards on 10 carries, including a 21-yard burst in which he broke three tackles and a 3-yard TD to finish the drive.

The offensive line of (from left) Kamon Ennis, Ka’Juan Redus, Braxton, Jake Hollfelder and Seth Craker was sublime throughout the night.

“Cam did a great job, and so did the whole offensive line,” Schmitt said. “We really wanted to pound the ball at them, and we were able to do it.”

Middleton surged ahead, 35-7, with 2:47 left in the third quarter when Schmitt and senior tight end/defensive end Cody Markel hooked up on a 12-yard touchdown. Schmitt ran a gorgeous play-action pass, Markel found a soft spot down the seam, then made a diving catch of Schmitt’s toss.

East added two fourth quarter scored against many of Middleton’s reserves. And Maly notched his third touchdown of the night.

But this game had been decided long before that.

“I definitely think we’re on our way up,” Graf said. “I’m certainly expecting us to continue getting better and there’s no signs that we’re stepping back.

“I think a lot of the younger guys are getting better the more they play. And I think the whole team is just going to keep getting better.”

East found that out the hard way Friday.

“It was the best we’ve played so far,” Simon said. “Hopefully we’ll keep improving. Right now, though, I’m just really happy how we played.”

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