Cardinal Nest

The Student News Site of Coon Rapids High School

The Student News Site of Coon Rapids High School

Cardinal Nest

The Student News Site of Coon Rapids High School

Cardinal Nest


What was your favorite Homecoming Spirit Day?

  • Cardinal Pride Day (36%, 9 Votes)
  • Workout Day (32%, 8 Votes)
  • Dress-Up Day (20%, 5 Votes)
  • Neon Day (8%, 2 Votes)
  • Jersey Day (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Cards Vs. Bengals Pregame

When the Cardinals football team takes on Blaine in their Homecoming game Thursday night, they will be renewing a rivalry that has been dormant for seven years. The last game took place on September 9, 2016, in Blaine, when the Bengals beat the Cardinals 45-28. That season the Cardinals would finish 0-9 (including playoffs), part of an 0-23 stretch that led to the team leaving Class 6A and dropping down to 5A. This move put their traditional rivalries on hiatus, but helped the Cards’ program gain better footing. They even reached the state semifinals in 2019, losing to Chaska 34-14. The team played the last two seasons as a 6A school, but still played mostly 5A schedules. (The only 6A school they played, Brainerd, is now back in 5A.) Now, the Cardinals are full-fledged members of 6A once again, which means a showdown with their rivals to the east.


The last Coon Rapids teams to play 6A football struggled while Blaine excelled, meaning Blaine has a long winning streak in this series. According to MaxPreps (which is not always a perfect source), the last time the Cardinals beat the Bengals was October 5, 2005, a 33-23 win at Cardinal Stadium. This means that it has been 18 years—6,581 days—since the Cardinals last defeated Blaine. Only a few of this year’s seniors were even born when that happened. However, since the Cardinals played 6 years against 5A schools, Blaine “only” has an 11-game winning streak over Coon Rapids. Regardless, it has been painfully long since the Cardinals last tamed the Bengals, giving the team lots of motivation to win this week. 


The last time Coon Rapids and Blaine met, the Bengals were 6-2 and on their way to a state semifinal appearance. They would reach the state semis again in 2018, then won a section title in the hastily thrown-together 2020 season (when no state championship took place). They went 4-4 these past two years, though, and do not look like the same powerhouse they once were. This year’s team may not even reach that level, as they are currently 2-4. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are a solid football team this year. They have been competitive in every game except against Metro #2 Maple Grove. They are also 2-4, giving this the feel of a very even matchup. 


Coon Rapids receiver Khijohnn Cummings-Coleman is rated as the 7th-best recruit in Minnesota for the Class of 2024. He led 6A in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns before an injury sidelined him for last week’s game against Maple Grove. However, he is still tied atop 6A with 4 interceptions. His explosive plays have helped the Cardinals stay competitive in every game, while his defensive skills have sealed both of the team’s prior victories. 


Meanwhile, Blaine has a more run-oriented attack. They use multiple quarterbacks, but one of them, Sam Shaughnessy, leads the team in rushing. He averages 123.2 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry. Blaine’s offense is built to grind out long drives, something the Cardinals’ defense has grown accustomed to. That means the Cardinals have to step up in key situations: third downs and plays in the red zone. Key defensive plays secured their wins over Osseo and Champlin Park, but were missing at the end of their close loss to St. Michael-Albertville. They will need to be opportunistic yet again if they want to win on Thursday.


As this is the final game of Metro North district play, both teams have played the same opponents throughout the year. They both beat Osseo and lost to Centennial, Anoka, and Maple Grove. The only differences were that Blaine beat St. Michael-Albertville, while Coon Rapids beat Champlin Park.


Another team also snapped a long losing streak recently: the Twins won their first playoff games since 2004. One thing that helped them overcome the streak was the fact that their current team wasn’t part of it. As long as they won, the streak was a thing of the past. The situation is similar for Coon Rapids. These current Cardinals aren’t part of the streak. If they win on Thursday, the streak is over.

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