In a game that quickly turned into a mud bath, the Winlock Cardinals toppled the Toutle Lake Ducks 21-15. While it rained most of the game, the Cardinals didn’t let the weather stop their parade.

Bryce Cline sprinted for 60 yards to put in Winlock’s first touchdown with 6:32 left in the first quarter. Kaden Harrington then made a fumble recovery to bring the ball back into the Cardinals’ possession.

Cline ran another 15 yards for a second touchdown with 1:40 to go in the first. Coleson Richendollar ran it in for the two-point conversion.

“We really tried squeezing down the middle. They got good yardage, but we ended up stepping up in the end and pulling it out,” Cline said.

Excited from their two-touchdown lead, the Cardinals whipped around in the second quarter to grab an interception. Richendollar snagged Chase Hadaller’s pass, intended for Taylor Lundquist, and made a run for it, but the Ducks brought him down short of the goal line.

“Both teams just kept pushing, pushing, pushing. We’ve got to get it together for next week. It was a hard-fought game,” Winlock coach Ernie Samples said.

After a long argument with a ref, Toutle Lake assistant coach and principal Chris Byrd got ejected from the game. And to rub salt in the wound, Winlock came back ready to make moves.

“I think the game went pretty well. As a team we did pretty well. We overcame some adversities. Were all chipping back and forth, but that’s football,” Cline said.

Cline passed 20 yards to Richendollar for a first down, then hit him again for the Cardinals’ third and final touchdown. Richendollar’s kick was good, bringing it up to 21-0.

The third quarter started and the rain continued. White jerseys quickly turned brown, and jersey numbers soon became invisible.

“We need to work on our toughness. This field did not help us. We’re going to have to toughen up and prepare for the sloppiness of the weather. This has been the worst (conditions) we’ve played so far,” Samples said.

The Ducks wanted a comeback, and they got one. With just 2:47 left in the third, Hadaller broke loose and waddled in 5 yards for a Ducks touchdown. Lundquist’s kick was good, and the Ducks had found themselves some hope.

“We got some stuff we’ve got to clean up, but we definitely showed heart in the second half. We got some out of the box play calling, and it seemed to work,” Toutle Lake coach Austen Carey said.

With 4:28 left in the game, Hadaller ran 31 yards to put the Ducks on the 12. He then plowed through the Cardinals, with a little help in the back from his teammates for a touchdown. Lundquist made a two-point conversion and brought it up 21-15.

In the end, it wasn’t enough for the Ducks, but Carey said he was very pleased with the performance.

“The kids really came back and rebounded in the second half. Our second half showed, whether the scoreboard was there or not, we were definitely a different football team,” Carey said.

The Cardinals narrowed their focus and took home the win. For Samples, having this game work out brings hope for the next one.

“We put our hearts out there,” Cline said.

“Focusing on that big boy there, No. 10 (Hadaller), he was the key,” Samples said. “He’s kind of the heartthrob of their offense. We did a good job of slowing him down. He did get the best of us a few times. But we got out of here with a ‘W’.”

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