Cards healthy, ready for long road trip

Harmony Grove receiver Connor Burrow brings in one of his two receptions in last week's 35-3 win over Horatio. The Cardinals will travel to Hoxie on Friday for the first round of the 3A State Playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier

The Harmony Grove Cardinals (7-3, 5-2) have earned a playoff berth for the fifth straight year. Coming in as the No. 3 seed, the Cardinals will be on the road Friday to No. 3 Hoxie (6-4, 5-2).
“We are excited we get to play and excited to still be in,” said Head Coach Paul Calley.
The road trip will put Harmony Grove on a bus for 157 miles one way, but Calley said it is easier than what his team faced in Round 1 a year ago.
“It is going to be a little bit easier than the Mountain View trip was last year,” he added.
The Cardinals defeated No. 1 Mountain View in last year’s opening round, earning the school’s first playoff victory since the program was formed in 2007.
However, Calley said this year’s first-round tilt is different as Hoxie is a mirror image of his squad.
“They matchup really well with us on offense,” Calley said. “Defensively, they are good at what they do. A mirror image almost of us. They use multiple formations and give you a lot of different looks. I expect it to be a tight ballgame.”
Hoxie is coming off of a 52-28 win over Walnut Ridge in the regular-season finale.
Hoxie is led by junior quarterback Chandler Spradlin. Last week, Spradlin completed 9 of 12 passes for 156 yards and two scores.
On the ground, Hoxie uses a number of rushers, but primarily turns to senior back Diamani Davis.
The go-to runner trucked for 260 yards and a couple of scores on 15 carries in last week’s dominating win.
Kickoff for Friday’s Round 1 is set for 7 p.m. in Hoxie.