Posted On: 10/9/20 11:29 PM

Friday Night Lights in Minnesota are finally back, and I kicked off my 2020 prep season by virtually attending and scouting the Annandale Cardinals vs. Princeton Tigers Week 1 matchup in Annandale. In what would have normally been Week 7 of the MN season, a beautiful October Friday night set up a thrilling 21-12 Cardinals victory in what was an exciting and hard-fought game on both sides of the football. The game contained a pick-six, some deep TD bombs, hard hits, and many more thrilling football plays that are worth mentioning. For a more detailed recount of the game, all you have to do is scroll below! Thanks for reading.

Annandale received the opening kickoff of the 2020 MN football season and began their first offensive drive from their own 25. They quickly found themselves facing a 3rd down, but 6’5, 225 lb. Annandale QB Landon JonesLandonJones6'5" | QBAnnandale | 2021StateMN delivered a nice strike for a first down and the Cardinals looked like they were out to a hot start. However, on the next 3rd down Jones’ pass was intercepted by Princeton’s Manny Flicek, and the Tigers quickly found themselves with the ball. On the following play for Princeton the ball was again intercepted, as DB/WR Alec Braun corralled a tipped ball and gave the ball back to Annandale. However, the refs somehow gave the ball back to Princeton, and they continued their drive like nothing happened. The Tigers ultimately had to punt after a big sack by 2022 Monte Diedrick, and the back-and-forth beginning of the game continued as Annandale got the ball back once again. Their drive ended up fizzling out, and an attempted punt fake by Golden Gopher commit Logan PurcellLoganPurcell6'7" | OLAnnandale | 2021StateMN fell incomplete. In the last 30 seconds of the first quarter it felt like 15 plays were ran, and after one quarter ended Annandale held possession of the ball with the score still 0-0.

The Cardinals were suffocated on their first drive of the second quarter by a high-flying Thomas Rush and the rest of his Princeton teammates, and they ended up forcing a punt by Purcell once again. The snap went over Purcell’s head though, and Princeton took over inside the 20 of Annandale. Aided by a huge sack by Isaac HagstromIsaacHagstrom6'5" | OLAnnandale | 2021StateMN of the Cards, and Princeton ended up far behind the chains despite starting with such strong field position. They ended up attempting a FG, but it was missed, and with 6:45 left in the half it remained 0-0. The two teams traded possessions, tackles, and handoffs until only a minute remained in the half, when Princeton and their 2023 stud QB Cooper Drews went for it all and launched a bomb downfield to a streaking Evan Schimming, who had a couple steps on the DB and caught the throw in-stride and ran the ball in for a TD. Annandale blocked the ensuing PAT, and the half ended with the Princeton Tigers 6, Annandale Cardinals 0.

With the big momentum building TD going into the half and being set to receive the ball to start the half, things were looking good for Princeton. They opened things up like how they ended the half, and a deep shot to an open Haydn StayHaydnStay6'4" | ATHPrinceton | 2022StateMN of Princeton could unfortunately not be completed. On the following play another pass was attempted by the Tigers, but Annandale DB Lucas Evans read the route perfectly and picked the ball off with enough room to burst up the sideline and find the endzone to get the Cardinals on the board, and after the ensuing PAT was missed the score landed at 6-6 for both sides early in the third. After Princeton got the ball back, they went back to throwing the football, but Annandale DB Bryce Fobbe made a nice play on the ball and made for two straight Cardinals interceptions. With possession of the ball and momentum firmly in their grasp, Annandale got to work quickly as Alec Braun made a huge catch over a defender to keep the chains moving, and not long after RB Rogan Kuser ran the ball in for the second straight Cardinals TD. The 2-point conversion was successful and with 3:38 left in the third Annandale found themselves leading 14-6. The two traded possessions again and at the end of the third the score remained 14-6 in favor of Annandale. 

One of my favorite players in the game, 6’6 Annandale WR Brady Spaulding made one of his many nice catches to keep the first drive of the fourth quarter going for the Cardinals, and that set up a Jordan Boltz TD catch from Jones a few plays later. Princeton kept fighting though, and on the following offensive drive Drews found a wide-open Haydn StayHaydnStay6'4" | ATHPrinceton | 2022StateMN for a pretty TD throw-and-catch, and the Tigers were back in the game. After missing the two point conversion and down 21-12, Princeton successfully recovered an onside kick, and it really looked like they were back in the ball-game and looking to score again soon. The defense of Annandale was just too efficient in their pass-rush and run-defense from their DL and LBs though, and nicely stifled the attempted comeback from the Tigers. Spaulding sealed the game on the final drive for Annandale by converting a big 4th down play, and the Cardinals were able to secure the victory and run out the clock. In a hard-fought four quarters the clock expired with Annandale the victors over Princeton 21-12. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s players of the game feature!