The Cardinals came into this game knowing what they had to do. They knew their rematch with Lena-Winslow was already in the making, but had to stay focused on the task at hand, on this day it was the Princeville Princes.
Princeville came into the game with 2 overtime wins and a lot of confidence, but they would quickly find out what they were up against the #3 ranked and defending state champion Forreston Cardinals.
Princeville received the ball to start and quickly went 3 and out, only gaining 1 yard on their first drive. A nice punt pushed Forreston back to their own 31 yard line to start their first drive. A few runs by Garret Badertscher and Gavin Fuchs got the ball rolling and moved the Cards into Princeville territory. That is when All-State running back AJ Christensen took off to the right side, cut up field, and 40 yards later was in the end zone for a quick 6-0 lead.
The ensuing drive for Princeville resulted in 15 yards before being forced to punt again, and Forreston started their 2nd drive on their own 40. With the same crew of backs running the ball, adding in Evan Kelsey and Ethan Mulder this time, it was Kelsey who found room right up the middle for a 27 yard TD score, and the 2 point conversion was good for a 14-0 Forreston lead at the end of 1.
On Princeville's 3rd drive of the game they tried to make things happen, and went for it on 4th and short from their own 34 yard line, but were stuffed by the Cardinal defense. Just a few plays later it was Christensen finding the end zone again for a 22-0 lead with 10:26 still to play in the 2nd quarter.
The Princes would drive for 18 yards on their next possession and cross midfield for the 1st time all game, but it was short lived as Evan Kelsey intercepted a Matthew Butterfield pass as Forreston went back to work. A big pass play from Hunter Daws to Sam Barkalow connected for 27 yards, and after chewing up almost 4 minutes off the clock, in typical Forreston fashion, it was Gavin Fuchs punching it in from a yard out for a 30-0 lead for the Cards as they went to the half.
The Cards would put up 2 more scores in the 2nd half to get the clock rolling behind TD runs from Joe Bowers and Ethan Mulder, as the Cards cruised to a 42-0 win over Princeville and punched their ticket to the semifinals for the 4th time in school history, and 3rd time over the last 4 seasons.
On the day, Forreston out gained Princeville 395 yards to 102 yards. Forreston had 368 yards on the ground from 11 different ball carriers, with AJ Christensen leading the way with 12 carries for 108 yards and 2 TD. Evan Kelsey finished with 8 carries for 60 yards and 1 TD, while Ethan Mulder had 56 yards on 11 carries and 1 TD, Gavin Fuchs had 11 carries for 49 yards and 1 TD, Garret Badertscher had 9 carries for 44 yards, and Joe Bowers finished with 38 yards on 9 carries and 1 TD.
Princeville had 80 yards on the ground with 22 yards in the air. Leading the way was Adam Snedden with 17 carries for 63 yards and 4 receptions for 22 yards. Matthew Butterfield was 4-8 passing for 22 yards, and Jack Arnett had 24 yards on 12 carries.
Princeville ends their season with a 9-3 record, and made their first trip to the quarters in 33 seasons.
Forreston improves to 11-1 and gets their much wanted rematch with Lena-Winslow (12-0) in Lena next week. Game time will be at 2 pm at the Le-Win Athletic Bowl.