After a sluggish first half offensively, the Bethlehem Academy football team exploded for 33 second-half points to fuel a 35-14 victory Friday night at Hayfield.
The only first-half points for the Cardinals (1-1) came when Matt Nelson was able to haul down Hayfield quarterback Ethan Pack in the end zone for a safety with six minutes, 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Pack then tossed a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter to help the Vikings to a 14-3 halftime lead.
Bethlehem Academy’s second-half outburst started on the first play, when Aiden Tobin brought back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Lucan Linnemann broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown run to provide the Vikings (1-1) with a 15-14 lead after Elliot Smith converted the point after try.
The rushing onslaught continued, with Brady Strodtman tallying a trio of touchdowns, first on the final play of the third quarter from a yard out, then from six yards out with 8:30 left in the game and lastly a 5-yard scamper with 2:42 remaining.
Those three touchdowns were part of a big and busy day for Strodtman, who finished with 194 yards rushing on 28 attempts. Defensively, Strodtman also racked up a team-high eight tackles including a pair of sacks. Linnemann tallied 85 rushing yards on three carries, Bo Dienst added 15 yards on six carries and Charles King rushed a pair of times for nine yards.
That all added up to a total of 302 yards of offense on the ground, which helped mitigate a passing offense that was hamstrung to negative-three yards on two completions.
Hayfield, meanwhile, was nearly the inverse offensively. The Vikings 210 passing yards, but were constantly swarmed on the ground and ended the night with negative-six rushing yards on 17 attempts.
Next week, Bethlehem Academy will travel to play at Kenyon-Wanamingo (1-1), which eases past Fillmore Central 28-0 on Friday night.