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With deck stacked, Cards roll
Brodhead-Judas Jesse DeLorme bursts free for a 31-yard run in the second qurter of Fridays 54-13 win over the Whitewater Whippets.
BRODHEAD - The Cardinals continued their impressive season Friday, whipping the Whitewater Whippets from start to finish, 54-13.

"One thing we threw at the kids this week was that we haven't been able to get a lot of turnovers the last few games," Brodhead-Juda head coach Jim Matthys said. "We talked about coming out ready to play. It's one of the things we thought we had some problems with early in the year - getting off to quicker starts."

The defense responded, intercepting three Ryan Owen passes in the first half. Two of those interceptions came on Whitewater's first two passing plays.

On third-and-9, Jaron Harding picked off his first of two passes, setting up Gavin Garrett's 9-yard touchdown run just 2 minutes, 23 seconds into the ball game.

"We've really picked up the leadership and that's what I think is leading this team right now," Wallace said.

Whitewater started its next possession at its own 2-yard line thanks to a misplayed bouncing kick-off. On third-and-10, Owen rolled left and threw down field, only to have Joey Jordan step out in front and pick off the ball, returning it to the 5-yard line. Garrett added a 4-yard score moments later, putting the Cardinals up 14-0 with 6:52 left in the first quarter.

"It's certainly going to give us momentum," Matthys said about getting out to an early lead. "It gets the defense going and got them (Whitewater) to throw the ball a little earlier than they probably wanted to."

Brodhead-Juda became methodical on offense the rest of the night, having just one run to go for negative yardage and the only incomplete pass coming on a wide-open dropped ball in the middle of the second quarter. The Cardinals marched 80 yards on seven plays in their third possession with quarterback David Earleywine connecting with Alex Wallace on a screen pass for a 10-yard touchdown.

Earleywine was on target all night, connecting on 6 of 7 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which on an 8-yard crossing pattern to Michael Peterson.

"From last year to this year Earleywine has picked it up. He's been working on his passing all year and he's been completing a lot this year," Wallace said. "It's great having him throw so well because we are usually all about the run, but with a quarterback who can throw, we can throw the ball to the halfback, running back, wide receiver, split end - wherever we want."

Wallace finished the night with three catches for 46 yards and five carries for 99 yards and two scores, the bulk of which coming on a 71-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter.

"I know I can count on the line because they make a whole for me and I just have to run the ball," Wallace said. "It's a great feeling though to get a big run once in a while."

Wallace scored on a 19-yard scamper to make it 34-7 midway through the second. Whitewater's first score came with 4:38 left in the second quarter on a 62-yard run by Bryan Edwards (23 carries, 185 yards).

The Whippets kept their first team offense and defense in the entire game, which Brodhead-Juda went to its second-string after Wallace's touchdown in the third, and soon after the third-string.

"Some people look at it as if 'Oh, they still have their starters in,' but if our young guys want to get better, they have to play against good competition. That's an advantage for us," Matthys said.

Jesse DeLorme scored on a 20-yard run with 18 seconds left in the second to make it 41-7 at the break. Hunter Colden added a 5-yard run late in the third with a running clock, and the Cardinals took a knee on the two-point conversion, choosing not to run up the score. Edwards scored from 8 yards out with 5:51 left in the fourth.

Brodhead-Juda racked up 419 total yards of offense on just 37 plays (11.3 yards per play), including 324 yards rushing on 30 carries. Whitewater (1-7) had just 289 yards of total offense, much of which coming in the second half.

"The first couple of games didn't go so great because we had a whole bunch of new starters, but now we're rolling," Harding said. "We want to go in (to playoffs) and win big again, keep rolling."

The Cardinals (6-2) are in the postseason picture and have one final game to make a case to host a first-round playoff game. Brodhead-Juda will host Beloit Turner (0-8) Thursday.

"I feel good that at this point we're playing the best football we've played all year," Matthys said. "Hopefully we can take that and carry it into playoffs."