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Cardinals dominate the line
Brodhead-Judas Dylan Bauman (20) and Skyler Rundle (57) bring down Prairie du Chien quarterback Kevin Aspenson on a run in the third quarter of Tuesdays WIAA Division 4 Level 1 playoff game. Brodhead-Juda won 42-13.
BRODHEAD - The Brodhead-Juda football team used every bit of the last four days to put together a near-perfect game plan for Prairie du Chien.

On Tuesday, with the wind howling throughout the region, the Cardinals rolled up their sleeves and went to work on the Blackhawks, rushing for 451 yards in a 42-13 win in the opening round of the WIAA Division 4 football playoffs.

"Coming off a three-day turn-around trying to play someone you don't know anything about until Friday night late," Brodhead-Juda head coach Jim Matthys said. "You try to throw a game plan together and get it to the kids on Saturday and Sunday, pre-game on Monday and play on Tuesday. But we get to do it all over again now."

Up next for the Cardinals (8-2): New Glarus-Monticello (8-2), who held off the previously undefeated and top-seeded River Valley, who beat Brodhead-Juda in the opening week of the season.

The Cardinals owned the line of scrimmage from start to finish on both offense and defense. On offense, Brodhead-Juda averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 61 running plays. Defensively, the Cardinals were even better, holding Prairie du Chien (7-3) to just 88 yards rushing on 25 carries - just 3.5 yards per carry.

"The windy conditions weren't ideal for passing, not that people couldn't pass as Prairie du Chien showed (10 of 23, 90 yards)," Matthys said. "Our defense has really stepped up. We held them under 100 yards rushing and their running back was averaging over 100. Defensively we just rose to the occasion. It all started with our offensive and defensive line."

The Cardinals defense stuffed the Blackhawks on the opening possession, forcing a three-and-out, then went 59 yards on 12 plays with Alex Wallace scoring the game's first touchdown with 3:13 to play. Included in the drive was a conversion on fourth down at midfield by Jesse DeLorme that kept the series alive.

"We got off to a good start right away, and that's what we've been talking about for the last three weeks. The kids came out fired up and ready to go," Matthys said. "Our seniors have just been rising the last three weeks and have been unbelievable. Maybe it's that back's against the wall mentality, but they've been doing a phenomenal job as leaders and getting the team going."

Prairie du Chien answered and tied the game at 7-7 moments into the second quarter, but the Cardinals kept fighting. Blair Chapman ripped off runs of 15 and 61 yards midway through the frame to put the Cardinals up 14-7.

"It felt pretty good. I don't normally score many touchdowns," Chapman said.

Moments later, DeLorme rocked Prairie du Chien running back Zach Thorton, freeing the ball loose. An inadvertent whistle ended the play, halting a would-be TD return by Wallace. Three plays later, the Cardinals got their score on a 7-yard dive by DeLorme.

"We were going to play Brodhead-Juda football. We were going to run the ball, smash it right down their throat and leave imprints when we run hard and lower our shoulder," DeLorme said. "We played with our heads held high and played to the best of our ability."

DeLorme got a piece of his own medicine in the third, getting decked near the goal line by Colin Roach, forcing DeLorme off the field for a play.

"It was good to feel my own medicine. It was one of those things where I finally felt my own," said DeLorme, who added an interception minutes later. "It's going to make me run harder."

Chapman scored on the next play to put the Cardinals up 28-7. Gavin Garrett scored 50 seconds into the fourth to give Brodhead-Juda a four-score lead, but Prairie du Chien answered, making it 35-13.

With 4:06 left in the game DeLorme capped a drive that was started by a Trenton Jordan interception with a 41-yard dash up the middle to put the game out of reach.

"It brought that momentum right back to our side," DeLorme said.

Wallace finished with 125 yards on 20 carries, DeLorme had 120 yards on 16 carries and Chapman finished with 95 yards on seven touches.

With a day off today, the Cardinals will have just two days to prepare for Saturday's game at New Glarus.

"As you get going down, the games get that much tougher," Matthys said. "It doesn't matter if it's Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 - a playoff win is a big win, it's a quality because you're beating somebody that's a darn good team."