The Spring Valley Cardinals football team had its season come to an end on Friday, Nov. 5 on the road against the Regis Ramblers, the #1 seed in the Division 7 playoff bracket. Regis defeated Spring …
The Spring Valley Cardinals football team had its season come to an end on Friday, Nov. 5 on the road against the Regis Ramblers, the #1 seed in the Division 7 playoff bracket. Regis defeated Spring Valley 28-13 to advance to the sectional final on Friday, Nov. 12.
The Friday night sectional semi-final contest between Spring Valley and Regis was highly anticipated. The Cardinals entered the game with a 9-2 record, including a 27-21 sectional quarterfinal victory over Pepin/Alma on Friday, Oct. 29. Regis, a private school powerhouse, went into the Spring Valley matchup with an unbeaten 11-0 record.
In the first quarter, Regis put the first points on the board with 6:57 left in the first quarter when Casey Erickson scored on a nine-yard touchdown run which was followed by a successful two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
Then, five minutes into the second quarter, the Ramblers once again had possession. Gus Theisen finished off a Regis drive with a one-yard touchdown run to take a 14-0 lead over the Cardinals.
Spring Valley opened up its scoring with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Goveronski to Tyler Bowman with 1:54 remaining in the first half of action. The PAT was good and cut the lead to 14-7. The second-half scoring began five minutes into the third quarter when Jake Weisenberger scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. The PAT by Alex Erickson was good, giving the Ramblers a 21-7 lead.
Going into the fourth quarter Spring Valley trailed 21-7. That changed with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter when Goveronski again connected with Bowman, this time it was a seven-yard touchdown throw which was followed by a missed PAT. Despite the score, Regis remained in control 21-13.
With 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter while holding an eight-point lead, the Ramblers sealed the deal with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kendon Krogman to Theisen. The PAT was good and gave the Ramblers a 28-13 lead which they held for the remainder of the game. After the game, Spring Valley head coach Ryan Kapping provided some analysis on the game.
“Eau Claire Regis had a lot of depth and executes at a high level,” Kapping said. “They were able to run the football effectively and ultimately were able to punch it into the endzone more consistently than we were able to.”
The difference in the game was the Ramblers’ ability to run the football effectively. Regis had 300 rushing yards and two players, Zander Rockow and Gus Theisen, both had over 100 yards rushing in the game. Kapping spoke about Regis’ ability to run the ball.
“Regis is a run-heavy team so we knew that slowing them down would be a key,” Kapping said. “I was happy that we were able to not give up a big run for a score, but their per carry average was higher than we would like to see, and we just weren’t able to slow them down enough.”
In addition to having a stellar night on the ground, Regis was also efficient on third-down conversions. The Ramblers converted 71% of their third downs for the night, compared to the Cardinals’ 25% conversion percentage. Kapping spoke about the importance of third down in the game.
“Third down was really critical,” Kapping said. “We were able to win the time of possession and turnover margin but the thirddown conversions and their ability to convert was the difference in the football game.”
As is similar with all other local high schools, the Spring Valley Cardinals had its fair share of seniors that positively impacted the football program and the younger players on the team. Kapping spoke about his seniors.
“This senior group is a really special group and I think the biggest thing I can point to is their integrity and how they approach the way they prepare and play, not just in football, but in all aspects of their lives,” Kapping said. “They are nine really impressive young men in terms of their work ethics that carries over to school and how they perform in the classroom and how they carry themselves in the hallways.”
Kapping also talked about how the play on the field is obviously important, but how he’s most proud of what his group has been able to do in the classroom during this senior campaign.
“As proud as I am of what they accomplished on the field this year, I am most proud of their success as an academic all-state team, how they battled through an adverse season with injuries, and how they are leaders among our student community.”
This season, Spring Valley had to face as much adversity as any year in the history of the program with illness and injury. Kapping spoke about how his players responded to adversity.
“I am really proud of the way our team grew throughout the season and how they kept battling through adversity,” Kapping said. “This season was like no other that I can remember in my 23 years of coaching. We had 15 different kids miss time due to injury or illness throughout the season and we were able to play a lot of different kids throughout the year and our hope is that will motivate the returning athletes to start preparing themselves for what is to come next season.”
Even with all of the injury and illness, Spring Valley was able to win the Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship, regional championship, and compete in the sectional semi-final against an undefeated Eau Claire Regis squad.