By Tim Kowols
The Gibraltar Vikings will get a second chance at knocking off the Newman Catholic Fighting Cardinals when they meet Friday night on 105.1 The Viking in the first round of the WIAA eight-man football divisional semifinals. Ironically, it was the day before their previous match-up in September that Vikings players learned they were eligible for the playoffs. The Vikings are trying to shake off a late-season swoon that started in Wausau with a 68-34 loss to the Fighting Cardinals.
In that game, the Cardinals and the Vikings traded scores in the first quarter with touchdown runs by Alex Laughlin and Trevor Reinhardt giving Gibraltar 8-7 and 14-13 leads early. Newman Catholic would never trail again after scoring four straight touchdowns, highlighted by a pick-six by Kasey Kaliface near the end of the second quarter. Gibraltar and Newman Catholic would trades scores to open the third quarter with Laughlin reaching the end zone once and jumpstarting a trick play that ended with a 50-plus yard passing touchdown from Luke Steebs to Reinhardt. The Fighting Cardinals would go on another run with Kaliface scoring two of his five offensive touchdowns and quarterback Ben Bates rushing for a third. Laughlin would close the scoring with a touchdown through the air from Reinhardt. Since then, the Vikings have lost two of three while the Fighting Cardinals continued their string of dominance, including a 44-14 victory last week against Phillips.
The winner of the match-up between Gibraltar and Newman Catholic will face the winner of Sevastopol/Oakfield. You can catch the action live from Merrill on 105.1 The Viking and streaming at DoorCountyDailyNews.com (no Facebook Live feed) beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the pregame show followed by kickoff at 6 p.m.