The Cardinals’ playoff streak will come down to the final week, as Evansville-Albany beat Brodhead-Juda 33-19 on Friday night. Evansville-Albany struck on the opening drive of the game. Brennen Banks, who torched the Cardinals’ defense all night, opened the drive with a 13-yard burst. Zachary Mielke hooked up with Logan Katzenmeyer for a 31-yard strike down to the Cardinals’ 20-yard line. Evansville-Albany faced a long third-and-12 from the 22, and Junior Parker Johnson broke up a pass to force a field goal attempt. Kade Gransee drilled a 42-yard field goal to cap a 10-play drive.

The Blue Devils extended their lead to 6-0 on the next offensive possession. Banks opened the drive with runs of six and 13-yards. The key play on the drive came as Mielke connected with Chase Katzenmeyer for a 33-yard bomb. The Cardinals’ defense made another stand to force a field goal. Mielke’s pass was incomplete on third-and-seven from the12-yard line. Gransee put the Blue Devils up 6-0 with a 30-yard field goal with 3:20 on the clock. In the blink of an eye, the Cardinals got on the scoreboard as Sophomore Seth Allen exploded for a 66-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed to keep the score tied at six.

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Junior Brekan Day picked off Mielke. With Brodhead-Juda staring at a third-and-three from their own 47-yard line, Senior Matt Schmitt’s pass to Johnson was incomplete. Coach Jim Matthys then made an aggressive call as Schmitt hit Sophomore Jeffrey Williams for a 26-yard strike on a well-executed fake punt. Two plays later, Schmitt hooked up with Allen for a 26-yard touchdown connection to put the Cardinals up 13-6 with 11:54 remaining in the half. Evansville-Albany immediately responded to tie the game at 13. Banks gashed the Cardinals’ defense for a 10-yard run to start the drive. Banks slipped a couple tackles in a 20-yard burst on third-and-four to keep the drive alive. Banks ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run with 8:08 on the clock.

Midway through the second quarter, the Blue Devils came up with a special teams play as they blocked Schmitt’s punt to set up the Blue Devils offense with a short field. Banks had a crucial five-yard run on third-and-three. Chase Katzenmeyer pounded the Cardinals with a 15-yard run down to the one-yard line. On the next play, Chase Katzenmeyer rumbled up the middle for a one-yard touchdown run to put Evansville-Albany up 20-13 with 4:26 left in the first half. The Blue Devils racked up 168 rushing yards in the opening half.

Evansville-Albany extended their lead midway through the third quarter. Chase Katzenmeyer ran up the middle for seven-yards. Banks then continued to do major damage as he exploded for a 20-yard burst down to the 25-yard line. Banks added an 11-yard run on the drive. Chase Katzenmeyer capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to put Evansville-Albany up 26-13 with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Brodhead-Juda answered with a seven-minute, 16-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Williams had a key six-yard run on third-and-one from their own 39-yard line. The Blue Devils were called for a costly pass interference on third down to keep the drive alive. Allen had runs of eight and five yards on the drive. With the ball sitting on the 10-yard line and Brodhead-Juda facing a third-and-seven, Schmitt pitched to Johnson, who came up inches short of the first down. After a Brodhead-Juda timeout, Schmitt had a one-yard quarterback keeper for a pivotal first down.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Williams found the end zone with a one-yard run to cut the deficit to 26-19 with 11:49 left in regulation. The Cardinals’ defense came up with a big stop to give the ball back to the offense. Allen ripped off a 13-yard run to start the drive. Later on the drive, the Cardinals faced a daunting third-and-15 from midfield, and Demetrios Heniadis picked off Schmitt. Banks and Chase Katzenmeyer put the nail in the coffin on the ensuing drive. Chase Katzenmeyer had a seven-yard run on third-and-five. Banks followed with runs of seven and four yards. He then used a cut-back to gash the Cardinals’ defense for 21-yards. Banks capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to put Evansville-Albany up 33-19 with 2:01 on the clock.

Banks racked up 250 rushing yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns. Chase Katzenmeyer contributed 104 rushing yards on 14 attempts and two touchdowns. Evansville-Albany’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. The Blue Devils had a total of 466 yards of offense on 63 plays with 376 coming from the running game. Allen led the Cardinals’ rushing attack with 113 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown. Schmitt had three completions in 13 attempts for 64 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Brodhead-Juda travels to East Troy on Friday, Oct. 14, with kick off scheduled for 7 p.m. at East Troy High School. Brodhead-Juda faces a must-win to secure a spot in the 2016 WIAA playoffs.