It’s playoff time in Verdigris.
The Class 4A No. 11 Cardinals cruised past Riverfield Country Day, 5-0, in a play-in game Friday night at Verdigris High School Stadium.
With the victory, the Cardinals (9-4) advanced to the Class 4A playoffs and will battle No. 1 Poteau in the opening round on Tuesday.
Led by the senior leadership of JD Hanslovan and Felipe Zanolli, the Cardinals overcame the miserable playing conditions and jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Aaron Meaux’s first-half goal with 16:16 remaining until halftime split two Riverfield defenders and found the back of the net to put the Cardinals ahead 1-0.
Moments later, Hanslovan got into the scoring column with a 20-yard shot that roared past the Riverfield defense as Verdigris carried a 2-0 lead into the break.
Hanslovan, who is known for drilling 50-yard field goals through the up-rights during football season, used his strong leg Friday night to give Verdigris a sizable advantage leading into the second half.
The momentum of Meaux’s and Hanslovan’s goals led to a scoring outburst in the second half.
Four minutes into the second half, Zanolli tallied his first of two goals off an assist from Hanslovan on a free kick that increased the Verdigris lead to 3-0.
Zanolli’s final goal of the game came on a penalty kick as Verdigris continued to build pressure on Riverfield with a 4-0 margin.
Verdigris sealed the game and the playoff berth with a goal from Bell.
Riverfield concluded its season with a 7-3 record.
* * *
The Class 4A No. 1-ranked Verdigris Lady Cardinals (9-3) will begin their quest toward a fourth-straight state championship on Tuesday in the first-round against Stilwell.
Last Friday, Stilwell defeated Drumright, 4-0 in a play-in game to meet up with the traditionally-rich Lady Cardinals.
Tuesday’s first-round playoff game will be held at Verdigris High School.
The Lady Cardinals are guided by veteran head coach Stacy Risenhoover and a powerful offense — led by junior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan, who scored four goals in last year’s Class 4A State Championship game.
It’s playoff time in Verdigris.
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