Game of the Week: Alexandria @ Moorhead
It took all season but I finally made it to the closest school on the other side of the river. Much like many other face-offs around the region, and probably nation for that matter, the Spuds were playing for a chance to host a playoff game. The winner took the prize.
Alexandria very nearly started with a two touchdown advantage, which would have gone a long way in aiding their efforts On a second and 10 at the 12 yard line #33 Cody Faber came so tantalizingly close to a touchdown that 12 hours later I still don't know how it was called incomplete. From my vantage point - about as close as the official - it looked like he dragged a foot before falling out of bounds. Maybe the official was watching the ball and not the foot so he may not have had full control, but it all lead to a turnover on downs.
All Moorhead could manage with their first chance was a mistake. The shotgun snap went high, but not too high as to be unmanageable. Yet Jack Stetz wasn't ready for it & the ball was quickly on the turf and in the arms of a Cardinal defender.
The Cards didn't squander this red zone retry and on what looked like the same play call that had just gone awry, Faber closed on the pass from Michael Empting, touchdown Alexandria. Then the first of a few blocked kicks happened and the visitors were up a pair of field goals instead of a pair of touchdowns.
On their second chance with the ball Moorhead got much better starting field position, near the 50 yard line. It took a couple plays but then the star of the night made his first appearance. On a swing pass to the right flat, Otis Weah made a couple defenders miss and housed his team's first score from 34 yards away.
Alexandria hadn't come the 90 miles up I - 94 just tuck tail after the nice play though. On the contrary, Faber and his mates were there to claim home field. 33 didn't make it any more clear then on a play that took his team from the 38 to the opposite 20. The Spud defense held from that point on, both during that possession and in the game. They forced a turnover on downs after only giving up one more yard.
The Spuds took it from there. On a pass into the middle of the field, Stetz hit Cole Crompton with a pass near the 40 but he dragged defenders and broke tackles all the way to the 16. It was a man sized effort if I've ever seen one. A few plays later and the potatoes were on the one line and it was O-dub time again. Weah plowed in for his second touchdown of the evening.
Down eight, Alex's offense marched back onto the field to see if they could once again break through the defense. They took most of the rest of the half but systematically drove the ball to the three were Faber struck again. After a failed two point conversion they were still down a pair but it might have proved to be the spark that they needed.
Unfortunately, they left 47 seconds on the clock and the Spuds only needed 40 to take back their lost points. A 41 yard touchdown pass to Otis Weah again stopped Alexandria's momentum and gave his team the opportunity to take full control of the game after halftime.
Moorhead wasn't quite able to take the game by the reigns out of the locker room. After moving the ball the middle 60 yards, butter fingers again ensued with another fumble, and again it was recovered by the visiting team.
Alexandria went all NDSU against Kansas St. on the quarter and methodically drove the ball from the eight all the way into the end zone via the capable mister Faber. After a successful two point attempt, the score sat at a one point differential. And with Alexandria's second half game plan in place it seemed as though the scoring may have nearly run it's course, with a clock bleeding strategy. Boy was I wrong to think that, and it started moments later.
On the ensuing kickoff Terrence Weah made all eleven members of the coverage team miss as he took it to the house. I wasn't on the Alex side of the field during it, but if I had been I may have suffocated because it absolutely took all the air out of their fans. The remaining two and a half minutes went by the same way most of the quarter had - with the Cardinals controlling the offensive action.
But the fourth quarter unleashed a different sort of energy from the Moorhead Spud's. They started with another turnover on downs. They continued it with another eight yard touchdown run by Otis, which came after a long run by said Weah.
Then they got what I still contend should have been a fumble recovery. I don't know how the officials saw something other then Anthony Angotti with the ball. Maybe there was some other unannounced infraction that nullified the play. Idk, it seemed like they didn't know how to call it because they reversed their ruling twice before the next play went off. As with basically everything else in the fourth quarter, it worked out for the home team though, as their defense forced another punt.
#26 closed out his evening of touchdowns on the first play of the possession. Weah took the hand off and squirted loose for a 52 yard scoring run. The PAT was blocked but that still left Alexandria down 21, with 10 minutes and counting in the game. In other words, it was over before quad zeroes.
The Cardinals managed some garbage time yardage but were held out of the end zone the rest of the way, while Stetz closed out Moorhead's scoreboard work with a 54 yard touchdown run of his own. I guess he just had to get the longest offensive scoring play of the night for his team. It doesn't take away from the tremendous night that Otis Weah had for his Orange & Black team!