By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA –The Forreston Cardinals had to work hard, late, to defeat the Pecatonica Indians on Friday night, Oct. 23, as they closed the 2015 regular season with a 36-6 win and a 7-2 record, good enough for a tie for second place in the NUIC Northwest.

Second was the best the Cardinals could have hoped for this season, after suffering earlier losses to fellow conference powerhouses Dakota and Lena-Winslow.

On Friday, Sept. 11, the Dakota Indians defeated the Forreston Cardinals 34-0, during the regular portion of the NUIC schedule.

On Friday, Oct. 9, the Cardinals picked up their second loss of the year, 40-20, to Lena-Winslow.

With the season closing win over Pecatonica, Forreston has a little momentum back, having won five of their last six games.

On Friday night the Cardinals found themselves pushed by the Pecatonica defense.

With only 12 points scored midway through the third quarter, the Indians put extra pressure on, after a touchdown strike with 6:38 to go in the period.

Forreston’s lead was cut to six points, 12-6.

Over the next ten minutes of game play, the Cardinals responded as they put 24 points on the board and took control of the evening.

The Indians just ran out of gas, according to Head Coach Eric Bergin.

“You can tell we were getting worn down there in the second half. We came out in the third quarter and forced Forreston into a turnover on downs right away. Pretty soon, the style of offense they run that was giving them two and three yards at a time, was starting to give them six and seven yards. For a while we matched up with them pretty well.”

Bergin said the pace of the Cardinals’ offense became too much to overcome.

If the offense is working, Forreston will score a lot of points in post season. It didn’t work for them earlier in the year, when they faced this week’s opponent the first time around. It was the worst offensive performance of the season as Forreston was shut out.

Head Coach Denny Diduch remembered that game, speaking earlier about how well his team played against Dakota.

“They are strong and they are disciplined and well coached. They get off the ball so low, they taught us a lesson.”

Forreston could not move the ball or break away. The Indians were imposing their will, Diduch explained.

“It has to do with their first step and the pad level they play at, at impact.”

The Indians worked harder and were more disciplined, Diduch expressed, when the two teams met in September.

“Dakota was six inches to a foot lower than us on every play. We didn’t forget that game. We were taught a lesson. We know we have the ability to play with Dakota.”

In order for the Cardinals to get a chance to redeem themselves for their second loss of the season against Lena-Winslow, they will have to work past this weekend’s game in Dakota as the Class 1A State Tournament begins.10-23 Forreston vs Pec

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