Concordia coach Tim Mannigel admitted that his team does, on occasion, make football more difficult than it needs to be.
But on Friday, it was North Side (4-5) making the mistakes and the Cadets (4-5) capitalizing on them as Concordia won 35-7 at Zollner Stadium in the final week of the regular season.
Jalen Vanderbosch twice picked off North Side quarterbacks and the Cadet defense twice halted the North Side offense on fourth down in the red zone. When North Side missed a field goal attempt for the second time, Concordia came up with the ball and returned it to the 30-yard line. The Cadets turned the ball over on downs on that ensuing drive, but got it right back by recovering a North Side fumble.
"We stress it, and it's such a big key for us," Mannigel said of the turnover margin. "It's not always easy to get a lot of these turnovers, some of the teams that we play are pretty good. And often we give up more than we take."
Concordia quarterback Brandon Davis made his biggest mistake of the night early, throwing a first-quarter interception to Jaylen Harris in the Cadets territory. North Side scored on a 3-yard touchdown run by Alex Holliday-Robinson.
Holliday-Robinson ended with 96 rushing yards and Duce Taylor threw for 114, but the Legends did not return to the end zone for the rest of the night, ending their hopes for their first winning regular season under coach Mike Brevard.
A minute after Holliday-Robinson's touchdown, Davis threw a 50-yard bomb to Tyler Grossman, who faced no defenders on his way to the end zone to tie the game at 7. Davis later threw an almost identical pass to Vanderbosch for a 68-yard touchdown that put the Cadets up 28-7 in the third quarter.
"They were kind of the same plays," Davis said. "The pocket broke down, I rolled out to my right. One of them I threw it right to him, and one I led him. And they just did the rest from there."
Concordia recovered the North Side fumble with about a minute remaining in the first half, and Davis scored on a 5-yard carry to give the Cadets a 13-7 halftime lead (the extra point was blocked).
Vanderbosch's first interception in the third quarter put the Cadets at the 42-yard line, and at 5:31 Amir Drew ran down the middle for a 4-yard touchdown. He then ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Cadets up 21-7.
In the fourth quarter, Davis saw an opening, passed the first-down marker as he reached the sideline and then saw open field in front of him. He picked up 54 yards on the run and on the next play Drew scored on a 9-yard run with 8:33 in the game to put Concordia up 35-7.
In all, Davis went 7-for-14 with 188 passing yards and 60 rushing yards.
"I think this is the best we've played," Davis said. "I think we had a good week of practice. We brought the intensity all week. We talked about it being close to the postseason, and we've got to show up."
Concordia now has momentum heading into next week's Class 3A sectional opener at Maconaquah. North Side has a bye week before playing host to Bishop Dwenger in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.