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Cardinal football falls to Fairmont, 28-6

Luverne finishes out season Wednesday against Waseca
John Sichmeller for the Star Herald

The Luverne Cardinals football team fell to the Fairmont Cardinals Thursday night in Fairmont where the hosts took a 7-6 lead into halftime and outscored Luverne 21-0 in the second half to earn a 28-6 victory. 
With the loss, Luverne moves to 4-3 on the season.
The story of the game for Luverne was turnovers, as the Cardinals committed five turnovers throughout the evening. 
Luverne was able to outgain Fairmont by 58 yards of total offense, but ultimately the turnovers were too hard to overcome.  
“Second-half turnovers led to short fields for Fairmont and too many scoring opportunities,” said Luverne football coach Todd Oye after the game.
“The first half our kids played very well. We were able to get a lead, but our late turnover gave Fairmont a touchdown to end the half.”
Both defenses looked strong to start the game as neither team was able to score until late in the first half. 
Luverne was able to start the scoring with a 68-yard scoring drive after receiving the ball at the 32-yard line with 3:51 left in the first half. Carter Sehr completed back-to-back passes to Conner Connell to move the ball into Fairmont territory.
The Cardinals then executed their longest play of the night when Sehr found senior receiver Gannon Ahrendt streaking past the Fairmont defense for a 48-yard touchdown reception. Luverne missed the extra point attempt, and the score was 6-0 with 1:13 remaining in the second quarter. 
The Cardinals looked to keep the momentum going when the ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Fairmont and picked up by Luverne at the Fairmont 16-yard line. 
Unfortunately for Luverne, Fairmont gained all the momentum back on the very next play as the Fairmont defense was able to knock the ball away from Sehr.
The ball was recovered by Fairmont’s Parker Mathiason, and he was able to run 84 yards into the Luverne end zone. Fairmont’s extra point kick was good, giving Fairmont a 7-6 lead with 53 seconds left in the second quarter. 
Luverne was not able to advance the ball, and Fairmont took the 7-6 lead into halftime.  
Luverne kept the turnover theme going as they fumbled the first offensive play of the second half, giving the ball right back to Fairmont. 
Fairmont players once again capitalized on the Luverne mistake as they put together a 49-yard scoring drive that was capped by a two-yard touchdown run from Fairmont quarterback Brendan Schmidtke. After a successful point after kick, Fairmont had a 14-6 lead with 4:48 left in the third quarter. 
The LHS offense moved the ball in its next scoring drive and was able to get inside the Fairmont red zone after a 29-yard run from senior running back Kaleb Hein.
However, the Cardinals committed yet another turnover as Sehr’s pass was intercepted by a Fairmont defender who returned the ball to the Luverne 46-yard line. 
Fairmont took advantage of the Luverne turnover and scored five plays later, this time on a 14-yard touchdown reception from wide receiver David Maakestad. Fairmont’s extra point kick was good, and the host Cardinals held a 21-6 lead with just three seconds remaining in the third quarter. 
Maakestad gave Fairmont its last touchdown of the night, but this time he did it on defense, intercepting Sehr’s fourth down pass on the next Luverne possession and returning it 73 yards into the Luverne end zone.
After another successful extra point, Fairmont held a 28-6 lead with 7:34 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Neither team was able to score the remainder of the game as Fairmont took the 28-6 victory over Luverne. 
Luverne will now turn its attention to a 6-1 Waseca team that is undefeated in section play.
“Waseca will be the No. 1 seed in our section, so this will be a great opportunity to see where we are at headed into the playoffs,” said coach Oye. 
Luverne will host Waseca on Wednesday night at Cardinal field. Game time is 7 p.m.
Team statistics:
Luverne: 94 rushing yards, 129 passing yards, 223 total yards, 13 first downs, 5 penalties for 40 yards, 5 turnovers.
Fairmont: 123 rushing yards, 42 passing yards, 165 total yards, 14 first downs, 4 penalties for 45 yards, 1 turnover.
Individual statistics:
Rushing: Kaleb Hein 6-42, DJ Rock 3-35, Tyson Cowell 6-28
Passing: Carter Sehr 6-13, 96 yards (1 TD), Conner Connell 6-11, 33 yards
Receiving: Gannon Ahrendt 2-52 (1 TD), Conner Connell 4-48, Gavin DeBeer 1-22
Defense: Anyuon Atem 8 tackles, Conner Connell 4 tackles, Tyson Cowell 4 tackles, Gavin DeBeer 3.5 tackles, Elijah Woodley 3.5 tackles, Kaleb Hein 3 tackles

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