Santa Fe’s season ended Friday night in a 41-28 state quarterfinal loss to Moore at Wolves Stadium.
Duece Hishaw scored first for the Lions on a 16-yard carry on Moore’s first possession.
The cards played in the Lions’ favor again seconds later when Santa Fe coughed-up the ball on a failed hook-and-lateral attempt on its first play from scrimmage.
After recovering the mishandled ball well into the Wolves’ territory, Gardner scored his first touchdown of the night on a 20-yard dash to the end-zone.
Both teams stalled for the remainder of the first quarter before Gardner came up with his second touchdown of the night on the first play of the second quarter: a leap over the quarreling Santa Fe and Moore lineman to cross the goal-line from a yard away.
Moore led 20-0 with 35 minutes and 58 seconds of football left.
“We’ve been there before this season,” Santa Fe quarterback Jorgen Olsen said. “I was, at the time, 100% confident that we’d be able to come back and score.”
Angelo Rankin struck first for the Wolves on the ensuing kickoff, cutting across the field for the 70-yard score.
Trailing by 13 points, Santa Fe could only trade shots with the Moore offense for the rest of the night.
“We just had certain schemes fit for how [Santa Fe} lined up and how they came out,” Hishaw said, “and they lined up perfectly for how we wanted them to.”
Santa Fe’s last-ditch effort at keeping itself in contention came in the closing minutes of the game as a connection from Jorgen Olsen to Angelo Rankin put the Wolves at the half-yard line with four downs to go.
On first down, the Moore defense wrapped Olsen up at the 2.
On second down, Hishaw disrupted the lane and drove Olsen backward again, this time to the 4.
On third down, the Moore defense stood-tall on a rollout pass attempt that fell incomplete.
On fourth down, Olsen looked to Talyn Shettron near the front-corner pylon of the end-zone, but the pass was disrupted by a Moore defender.
Moore regained possession with about 90 seconds of game-clock to go. Gardner sealed Santa Fe’s fate with a first-down dash for 18 yards as the clock drained itself.
“[Moore] just wanted it,” Olsen said. “They played great, they played sound.”