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Edgar takes care of business

Edgar takes care of business Edgar takes care of business

Team will clash with I-S in battle of unbeatens

The Edgar Wildcats live for the cold, crisp nights of November, when every breath plumes white in the night air, and the ground is covered in frost.

September is nice, with its warm weather that holds hints of summer, and games in October are where players emerge as breakout stars.

But November is the playoffs, a place where legacies are made.

This year the playoffs are different from what has come before.

There won’t be a state title game played in Camp Randall. There won’t be a gold ball or even a silver ball handed out.

But Edgar’s mentality doesn’t change. No matter the venue or the opponent, the ‘Cats are always ready to play. They proved that last Friday after a one-sided 41-0 drubbing of the Pacelli Cardinals at home that should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the ‘Cats have a compelling case for being the best team in Division 7.

“There’s not much more to say other than that it’s Edgar football,” senior lineman Korbyn Bauman said with a shrug. “The team’s passionate and loves to play and always loves to be the best that we can be. ”

The ‘Cats knew Friday presented another great opportunity to display their skills and dominance, with Pacelli bringing in Brycen Cashin, the state’s leading rusher.

Edgar was more than ready for the challenge, turning in one of their greatest defensive performances of the season, a feat highlighted by senior linebacker Austin Dahlke and his team high four sacks and 11 tackles.

Brayden Baumgartner also had 11 tackles, and he and RJ Knettter and Bauman all put pressure on Pacelli QB Drew Kedrowicz as the ‘Cats absolutely buried the Cardinals into the frozen field time and time again.

“We’ve been working since mid-summer, and it’s showing on the field,” senior signal caller Konnor Wolf said after the game. “We got the cold weather now, the pads are cracking and we’re doing what we love out here.”

Edgar had a few uncharacteristic mistakes, with Wolf throwing a pick across the middle, but Edgar’s stout defense held Pacelli well under its season average of 32 points and 370 yards.

“We played great defense, holding Brycen Cashin, the leading rusher in the state, to 46 yards,” head coach Jerry Sinz said.

Edgar also held the Cardinals to just 57 yards of total offense, all while racking up nearly two hundred yards on the ground and another 100 yards through the air.

Kyle Brewster and Austin Dahlke were the one-two punch. Brewster toted the rock ten times for 95-yards and two touchdowns and Dahlke added two scores on 11 carries for 72 yards.

Wolf and Dahlke also connected several times through the air, with the fleet-footed Dahlke nabbing a team high four receptions for 55-yards.

That balanced offense, combined with Edgar’s speed, gave Pacelli fits all night long.

“We know that we got some pretty fast weapons with Drew Guden, Kyle Brewster and Austin Dahlke and the big man Brayden Baumgartner out there,” Wolf said of his receivers. “Those guys can run fast and catch, and are just straight out dogs out there.”

Wolf and Brewster added the first of Edgar’s 41 points with an 11-yard TD reception in the first quarter. The two point conversion was stopped, and the ‘Cards held the ‘Cats to one TD in the first quarter, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.

Once Edgar got a taste of the end zone, they didn’t stop, and Dahlke showcased his speed as he muscled and threw off would be tacklers for big gains on Edgar’s second score. A two point conversion by Brewster made it 14-0 in the second.

Brewster found the end zone for a third time in the first half when he plowed in on for a TD on a five-yard carry. A successful two point conversion from Dahlke made it 22-0, and the score remained this way heading into the break.

Cashin tried to jump start Pacelli’s offense in the second half, but Edgar battled him every step of the way, pounding the Cardinals’ tailback with bruising tackles that could be heard as far away as the Edgar school district’s parking lot. “All week the coaches stressed that he was going to be a hard runner, but we’ve played good running backs before leading up to this,” Bauman said about the Wildcats’ defensive efforts.

“For us, the mentality didn’t change, he was just another back. We knew they hadn’t faced a defense like us all year. It was a great defensive effort, guys were in the right places and made the plays we expect them to.”

Edgar continued to roll, rumble and rack up yards in the second half. An eight-yard gain from Dahlke made it 28-0 early in the third quarter, and the Wildcat defense forced another punt, one of eight punts that Edgar forced.

But the ensuing return would be different from the others. Senior receiver Drew Guden got the ball and then darted down the field, evading wouldbe tacklers for a 58-yard punt return, and after having so many called back on penalties, he jubilantly celebrated with his teammates in the end zone.

The two point conversion was stopped, but Edgar held a commanding 34-0 lead midway through the third quarter. Kyle Brewster tacked the last touchdown onto the score board late in the third when he sprung loose down the sideline for a 37-yard scoring run.

A successful PAT by Wolf made it 41-0, and as the running clock began the Wiildcats continued to hold the Cardinals scoreless. The victory preserves Edgar’s perfect record and moves them to 8-0.

They’ll be putting that record on the line this Thursday when they take on Iola-Scandinavia, who also enters the Level Two match-up undefeated.

But if there’s anything Edgar has proven over the years, it’s that they love playing a team in black and orange, and while there won’t be a trophy waiting for Edgar at the end of this game, every Wildcat knows what Thursday night’s meeting with the Thunderbirds means.

“It’s our last chance to send a message that Edgar Wildcats football is no joke, no matter the year, COVID or not,” Wolf said. “Every field is 100 yards long, and we’re going to treat Thursday like it’s our state championship game.”

“It’s our last chance to send a message that Edgar Wildcats football is no joke, no matter the year, COVID or not.” Konnor WolfEdgar senior

GETTING THE JOB DONE- Austin Dahlke (#5) celebrates with Waylon Wirkus (#77) and Korbyn Bauman (#63) after an eigh-yard scoring run against Pacelli. Dahlke and his fellow seniors play their last game on Thursday against Iola-Scandinavia.STAFF PHOTO/ROSS PATTERMANN