By Jacob Mathias
After three straight wins, the Pacelli Cardinals football took their first loss of the season with a 22-20 loss to the Wittenberg-Birnamwood Chargers Friday night.
Pacelli entered the game following a 42-6 victory of the Manawa Wolves on September 1. This loss brings their season record to 3-1 and Central Wisconsin Conference record to 1-1.
It was a first half of missed opportunities for the Cardinals. Twice they had the ball within the red zone and were unable to convert to touchdowns. A blocked punt by senior defensive lineman AJ Firminhac in the first quarter put Pacelli in good field possession but they soon lost the ball on downs.
The Cardinals also failed to capitalize on an interception by junior defensive back Ben Lundgren with 4:51 in the first quarter.
The Chargers took to the scoreboard first after a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Jack Stewart.
After recovering a bad punt by the Chargers with 1:45 in the second quarter, the Cardinals earned their first down conversion of the night at 1:07 and finally scoring with six seconds left in the half. A successful two-point conversion attempt brought the halftime score to 8-8.
The back and forth continued in the second half with the Chargers scoring with their first possession to bring their lead to 16-8.
Senior receiver Daniel Mitch ran a TD in with 2:57 in the third quarter and a failed two-point attempt left Pacelli trailing 16-14.
The pattern continued with another TD by the Chargers at 8:37 in the fourth quarter that brought their lead to 22-14. A 1-yard touchdown run by junior running back Xander Schmitz and a failed two-point conversion left the Cardinal’s trailing with a final score of 22-20.
Defensively, the Cardinals played an inconsistent game. Their defensive line struggled to contain the middle run game, giving up major yardage throughout the game but consistently defended against runs to the outside and the pass game.
The Cardinals travel to Weyauwega-Fremont next week where they will take on the Indians (0-4) at 7 PM on September 15.