The Cardinal football team ended its 2018 season in dramatic fashion, claiming a 24-17 overtime victory on the road over Davenport on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Junior quarterback Ryan Conklin scored on a 21-yard rush to give the Cardinals the overtime lead, and the defense held the Panthers to confirm the victory.
Conklin was proud of the solid team win in tough conditions.
“It was huge to be able to pull out a victory in overtime against a good team in tough conditions,” Conklin said. “To be out there in a situation like that with my teammates is an amazing feeling, and I ultimately didn’t care who made the play as long as it was made.”
The scoring for the Cardinals began early in the first quarter, as Conklin found sophomore wide receiver Chad Galliard for a 73-yard touchdown.
The Panthers were next to score, completing a 10-play, 59-yard drive on a 14-yard rush from running back Seth Acda midway through the second quarter.
Late in the first half, Cardinal David Still blocked a Panther punt, which was scooped up by teammate Bryce Anderson.
Anderson took it five yards to the end zone for the Cardinals’ second touchdown of the game, taking the lead back for the Cardinals at 14-7.
The Panthers drew closer just before halftime, connecting on a 42-yard Chris Ahmed field goal to make the score 14-10. Davenport struck first in the second half, using over six minutes of game time to put together an 11-play, 91-yard touchdown drive. Keion Powers completed the drive on a one-yard rush, giving the Panthers a 17-14 lead over the Cardinals, their first of the day.
The Cardinal offense worked its way into field goal range, where freshman kicker Connor Luksic was able to tie the game at 17 with a 31-yard field goal with 11:16 remaining in the game.
As both defenses held firm through the rest of regulation, it was not until the final play that Luksic had a chance at another field goal, this one to win the game. The game headed to overtime as the chance was missed from 32 yards away.
Conklin’s 21-yard go-ahead touchdown came on the second play of overtime. The Panther offense moved the ball to the five-yard line, but the Cardinal defense kept them out of the end zone in what was their final stand, securing the 24-17 victory over Davenport.
Conklin was named “Meijer Player of the Game,” leading all Cardinals on the ground with 65 rushing yards and his game-winning touchdown. He also recorded 179 passing yards and a touchdown.
Senior linebacker Michael Alexander recorded 13 tackles in his last game with the Cardinals.
The team finished out the year at 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the GLIAC as the Panthers fell to 6-5 and 3-5.