Our RPAC Rundown featured matchup Friday evening was a clash between a pair of D1-9 District foes as the Cambridge Trojans played host to the Alma Cardinals. Cambridge was able to come away with their third win of the season as they beat Alma, 38-22, behind a potent ground attack including over 200 yards rushing in the second half.
We begin in the first quarter, Alma struck first on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jakin Neal to River Eddy. The two-point conversion was good and the Cardinals took an early 8-0 lead with 9:21 on the clock. That was the only scoring that took place in the initial period so we went to the second with Alma up by one score.
In the second quarter, Cambridge got on the board as Jayden Ruf scored on a tough nine-yard run, the first of his three scores as he had a monster night. The two-point conversion was no good and Alma led 8-6.
The Cardinals did what they have done many times this season. Countered with a touchdown of their own on a big play. Jakin Neal found Alek Molzahn again, this time on a 50-yard pass. The two-point conversion was no good and the score was 14-6 with 9:30 to go in the half.
After a couple of empty possessions from each team, Cambridge capitalized on solid field position and an electric play. Quarterback Micah Gerlach found Krayton Ruggles on a 13-yard pass that he had to climb the ladder and snatch over the Alma defender. The Trojans got the two-point conversion and it was tied 14-14.
That's what the score read at the intermission.
Cambridge started the second half with a bang. On their first play from scrimmage, Ruf again found paydirt this time from 40 yards away and Cambridge led 22-14 after the two-point conversion.
Alma then took possession and drove the ball all the way down to the Cambridge two-yard line and looked primed to score. The Cardinals fumbled the ball and Cambridge took possession. The Trojans though, fumbled and gave it back after a handful of plays.
Alma drove the short field but a pair of sacks from the Trojans on third and fourth with goal to go, from Braydon Miller, Carter Hanes, and others resulted in Cambridge taking the ball back late in the third quarter.
Jumping to the fourth quarter, the Trojans started the period with another big play. Jayden Ruf scored on a 27-yard run and the two-point conversion was good. Cambridge led 30-14 with 11:53 to go in the game.
Alma took possession and went with a hurry-up offense. They moved the ball upfield on a few plays. Then, they went into the playbook for a trick play as it was a half-back pass from Alek Molzahn. The Trojans were ready as Dierks Sayer intercepted the pass and Cambridge took back over.
Alma's defense got tough and kept Cambridge out of the endzone and gave themselves a chance to come back. On Alma's next possession, they moved the ball downfield and had a nice 4th down conversion on a long 35-yard pass from Neal to Zavier Mitchell, but again the Cardinals couldn't punch it in.
Cambridge took possession and drove the field. They chewed up the clock on a couple of nice runs to move the chains. They capped off the drive on a four-yard run by Gerlach and the two-point conversion was good. Cambridge led 38-14 with 3:10 to go.
Alma though, refused to quit They scored one more time, and quickly at the 2:15 mark as Alek Molzahn ran it in from four yards away. Their two-point conversion was good and the scoreboard read 38-22, and that's how the game ended.
Cambridge ran the ball effectively as a team. 307 yards on the ground and Jayden Ruf had 164 of those and three touchdowns. Dierks Sayer added 101 yards and Micah Gerlach had 33 yards and a score. Cambridge averaged 5.8 yards per carry. They needed just 27 yards passing to get the job done on Friday.
We caught up with the Head Coach of the Trojans, Catlin Rice, and discussed the adjustments they made when it was tough sledding in the first half on the ground but turned it around in the second half. Check out the video below for his comments.
Braydon Miller and Hunter Perks were everywhere, recording 16 and 15 tackles for Cambridge. Miller had two tackles for loss and Perks added four. Cambridge also had seven sacks as they put the Cardinals under pressure all game.
For the Cardinals, they had a nice game statistically too. Unofficially they had 311 yards of total offense. Jakin Neal was 19-26 with 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Alek Molzahn had 20 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals had a variety of players aid on the receiving side as Molzahn had eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, Mitchell recorded five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, Grady Faimon had 49 yards and River Eddy had 36 yards and a touchdown.
Both teams are battling injuries but continue to fight and claw throughout the season.
Cambridge moves to 3-3 on the season and will look to get above .500 next week when they play Bayard on the road. Alma is 4-2 and will look to bounce back as they will have top-10 rated Hi-Line at home on Friday.