BARRETT — The Staples-Motley Cardinals traveled to Barrett on an unusual Thursday homecoming game for the West Central Area/Ashby football team. Despite an early lead, the hosting Knights could not prevent a late score from their visitor as the Cardinals won a 16-12 showdown.

While the Friday forecast was not good, Thursday wasn’t much better. Game-time temps hovered in the mid-30s with driving rain that maintained for most of the game. This led to a somewhat low scoring affair. 

The Knights took a 6-0 lead when freshman Anthony Sykora punched the ball in from 4 yards out with 1:22 left in the first half. 

The Cardinals took the lead on the first drive of the second half with a 71-yard touchdown run by Sivert Kleffaaf, who also ran in the 2-point conversion. West Central regained the lead with a 16-yard run by Sykora 12-8. The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, but Staples-Motley was able to score with 44 seconds to secure the win.

“This one stings, we played with a ton of heart and battled through some injuries but came up just short,” Knights head coach Nathan Wood said. “Staples deserves a ton of credit, they battled hard also and did what they needed to do. This was a great football game.”

Jaden Norby led the Knights in rushing with 52 yards on 13 carries, while Sykora finished with 36 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Connor Nadgwick led West Central Area on defense with 10 tackles in the game.

The Knights will close out their regular season as they travel to take on the Hawley Nuggets at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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