PREP FOOTBALL Mooney completes 26-0 opening win
The Cardinals blanked East Liverpool Friday and Saturday.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST LIVERPOOL -- It took the Cardinal Mooney High football team two days to get its season opener against East Liverpool completed, but the Cardinals still prevailed 26-0 Saturday at the Potters' stadium.
The contest was halted by inclement weather at halftime Friday night with the Cardinals leading 14-0. It was the second time in two years that their game was delayed by weather in East Liverpool.
The two teams resumed action Saturday, as Mooney continued to dominate, scoring a touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters.
On Friday night, Mike Rich scored on a 17-yard run to give Mooney the lead in the second quarter. Kyle McCarthy of the Cardinals scored moments later on a 37-yard run.
On Saturday, it looked like East Liverpool was gaining momentum in the third quarter when Jimmy Wood's punt pinned Mooney at its own 4-yard line.
98-yard TD run
The Cardinals were penalized two yards before Nate Burney sprinted 98 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
"I was just trying to get some positive yards and get us away from our end zone," said Burney, who gained 130 yards on eight carries.
"I wasn't surprised though; that's what's expected of me," he added. "The holes are always there, you just have to hit them."
Regarding Burney's run, Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said, "We had our backs against the wall. They [Liverpool] had been pursuing that side against us, so Burney took it into his own hands and made a great run."
Desmond Morrow of Mooney then intercepted a Potters' pass, giving the Cardinals a first down at the East Liverpool 25.
Game sealing TD
McCarthy then scored on an 11-yard run on fourth-and-6, as Mooney sealed the win with 9:04 remaining.
Early in that drive, the Cardinals converted another fourth-down play from the 20, with Burney gaining the necessary five yards.
The second quarter featured a touchdown-saving play by the Cardinals' McCarthy, whose last-second break-up prevented a wide open Potter receiver from going the distance.
McCarthy then got the offense moving from his quarterback position as Mooney marched 77 yards in 10 plays. Rich did most of the damage with 50 yards on six tries. He covered the final 17 yards for a 7-0 lead at the 6:03 mark.
Starting the next drive at their 44 following the Potters three-and-out, the Cardinals' McCarthy raced 37 yards down the left sideline for the 14-0 margin at 3:01 of the half.
Both teams employed an offense that featured mostly rushing.
"We were fortunate to get it going early on Friday night," Fecko said. "We didn't want to out-coach ourselves.
"It's tough coming down here [East Liverpool] two days in a row, and now we've done that two of the last three years."