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Football: Carlsen named Cardinals' MVP

Alexandria's Matthew Carlsen reads the defense ahead of the snap against Rocori this season. Carlsen was named the Cardinals' MVP this fall in his first season as a starter. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 10
Wade Odland2 / 10
Isaac Siegel3 / 10
Paul Schwartz4 / 10
Nick Langner5 / 10
Gabe Moore6 / 10
Xavier Homelvig7 / 10
Daniel Jantzen8 / 10
Zach Wosepka9 / 10
Nolan Morical10 / 10

The Alexandria football team had a big group of newcomers stepping into bigger roles on varsity this season, and many of those new faces earned some hardware at the Cardinals' season-ending banquet on Dec. 3.

Junior Matthew Carlsen was one of those as he jumped into his first season as this team's starting quarterback. Carlsen passed for 1,711 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 54.6-completion percentage (160-293) and earned this team's MVP honor for his efforts. Carlsen was also named all-district and joins Cody Branson, Xavier Homelvig, Derrek Piepho and Andrew Revering is being named captains in 2019.

Homelvig and senior Wade Odland shared Alexandria's Most Valuable Defensive Back Award. Homelvig led the team in tackles with 87 (45 solo, 42 assisted) and added two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Odland added 60 tackles.

Senior Daniel Jantzen was named the Cardinals' most valuable defensive lineman. He was second on the team in tackles with 70, five of which went for loss. Jantzen added two forced and two recovered fumbles.

The Most Improved Player Award was shared by seniors Gabe Moore and Paul Schwartz. Moore (OT, DT). Moore had 35 tackles up front defensively, while Schwartz (RB/LB) added 46 takedowns.

Senior Zach Wosepka kicked his way to Alexandria's most valuable special teams player award. He was 18-of-20 on extra points, while adding a couple of field goals, including a long of 40 yards.

Up front offensively, juniors Nick Langner and Isaac Siegel should give the Cardinals a solid foundation to build around after both shared the team's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman Award this season.

They helped pave the way for a rushing game that got going better as the season went on. Sophomore Nolan Morical also had a lot to do with that as he led the Cardinals in rushing with 714 yards and four touchdowns on 139 carries. Morical was named Alexandria's most valuable offensive back.

The Cardinals went 3-6 overall this season and 2-4 in the North Central (Red) District. Jantzen, Branson, Carlsen, Piepho, Morical and Revering were all-district players, while Alex Neale, Odland, Blake Hoelscher, Homelvig and Derek Pesta were honorable-mention selections.

Jantzen and Morical were All-Section 8-5A selections, and Josh Wegner, Branson and Hoelscher were honorable-mention selections.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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