LUCK – The Siren football team held an advantage in total yards on Friday.
But unfortunately for the Dragons, they also had a larger number in the turnover column.
Giving the ball away four times against a formidable Luck team led to the end of Siren’s bid for an undefeated season and helped continue the run for the Cardinals’, who finished with the 46-30 road win.
“We had a couple of costly turnovers in the second half that ended drives for us,” Siren coach Ryan Karsten said. “We were a couple of mistakes from being in the end zone one or two more times.”
Despite outgaining the Cardinals 441-403, Karsten said the Dragons still couldn’t afford to make mistakes against a team with a potent offense like Luck’s.
“Luck runs the double-wing and have three guys that can carry the ball per play; that is the frustrating part of going against that offense,” he said. “They are big, strong, fast and a majority of their players are seniors who’ve won a ton of football games.”
While the Cardinals boasted a potent offense entering the game, it was their special teams that gave them an early lead.
Justin Blechinger took the opening kickoff 62 yards for a touchdown to put Luck up 6-0 less than 30 seconds into the game and the following conversion made it an 8-0 lead. It soon became a two-score lead, as the Cardinals forced the Dragons into a 3-and-out and followed with a scoring drive, punctuated by a touchdown run with another 2-point conversion.
“Overall, we scored the same amount of offensive touchdowns as (Luck) did, (but) the difference in the score was 2-point conversion and special teams scores,” Karsten said.
With less than six minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Dragons cut into Luck’s lead with a touchdown drive of their own. Brady Kosloski led Siren into Luck territory and put it on the board with a 7-yard touchdown run. But the Dragons’ first 2-point conversion fail kept them down by 10 at 16-6.
Siren did pull to within a score when Trevor Stanford followed an interception with a 24-yard pass reception from Kosloski for a touchdown. The Dragons could have pulled to within a field goal but had their second conversion miss and the score was 16-12 to start the second quarter.
The teams traded punts, turnovers on downs and fumbles for the first nine minutes of the second, but the Cardinals broke through for a 2-yard touchdown run with less than 30 seconds remaining and added the conversion to take a 24-12 lead into the break.
The Dragons had an unfortunate start to the second half as well, having a pass intercepted by the Cardinals, who made it cost another eight points with a touchdown run and 2-point conversion. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the third, Luck held a 32-12 lead.
But Siren had a quick answer to the Luck score, driving 70 yards in just over two minutes and getting a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kosloski to Stanford. Though with another missed conversion, the Dragons trailed 32-18.
Luck regained a 20-point lead on its following drive with a 39-yard touchdown run and conversion, to go up 38-18 with just over five minutes remaining in the third. But a 54-yard pass from Kosloski to Nick Webster led to a 1-yard touchdown run from Kosloski, followed by a failed conversion, to make it a 38-24 game.
Before the start of the fourth, the Dragons made it a one-score game. They regained possession after stopping Luck on fourth down and in less than two minutes, Kosloski finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Without getting the conversion, the Dragons trailed 38-30 at the end of the third.
Siren, however, couldn’t get that game-tying score.
Luck took their first fourth-quarter possession the length of the field and went up 46-30 with a touchdown run and conversion. Siren’s final two drives ended with an interception and turnover on downs.
The Cardinals finished with 352 yards rushing while Kosloski had 323 passing yards for the Dragons. Nick Webster had five catches for 103 yards; Stanford had 81 yards on seven catches and Cordell Fischer had 90 yards rushing on 14 carries. Stanford also had 20 tackles on defense; Gavyn Anton had 15 and Jimmy Krentze added 14.
Karsten and the Dragons hope this tough loss at least adds difficulty to upcoming opponents who’ll need plan defending both a capable run game and pass game.
“Two of the last three weeks we’ve had over 300 yards passing. If that makes us tougher to prepare for, that is an advantage for us,” Karsten said.
Siren plays at Shell Lake this Friday.