Mooney drilled Columbus Watterson, 32-14, for a 9-0 regular season mark.
By PAUL TRGOVAC
YOUNGSTOWN -- Some people wondered just how the Cardinal Mooney High football team would play Friday night, given that the Cardinals had locked up the top seed in their region for the playoffs.
Well, after a 452-yard offensive explosion and a 32-14 blasting of a good Columbus Watterson team at Stambaugh Stadium, there should be no question that Mooney is ready to move into the postseason.
"The playoffs are next week, we weren't going to take it easy or sit anyone," said Mooney coach P.J. Fecko. "These guys have worked too hard all spring and summer to do that."
Mooney finished the regular season with a 9-0 record, the program's first unbeaten regular season since 1996.
Both teams came out on their first possession of the game and moved right down the field for a touchdown. Mooney moved 80 yards in 12 plays with the opening kickoff, as Brandon Beachum scored from 6 yards out. The extra point failed.
The Eagles (7-3) countered with a six-play, 63-yard drive as Sam Jacobs tallied on a 9-yard scamper. The extra point by Matt Ring was good to give Watterson a 7-6 lead.
The Cardinals used two big plays to score a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter. Quarterback Dan McCarthy scored a a 41-yard run with 7:23 to play in the half, then hit Tony Brunetti with a 45-yard scoring strike with just 36 seconds remaining before halftime to give the Cards an 18-6 advantage.
"We jumped out to a fast start and gained momentum," said Fecko, "and then they swung it back their way before our defense really stepped it up and played well the rest of the game."
In the third quarter the Cardinals again used a time-consuming drive to score. They forced a punt then drove 88 yards in 13 plays, taking 6:13 off the clock, to make it 25-7. The key play in the drive was a fourth-down pass from McCarthy to Mike McGlone that gave Mooney a first down at the Watterson 4. Michael Zordich scored on a 2-yard run and Mark Babyak converted the extra point.
The Cardinals recovered a on the final play of the third quarter and Zordich scored the final Mooney touchdown on a 22-yard run. Jacobs completed the scoring on a 6-yard run.
Mooney dominated the statistics. The Cards had 20 first downs to the Eagles' eight. Watterson had 140 yards on the ground in 27 attempts while Mooney had 381 yards and rushed the ball 61 times. The Cardinals were 4-for-5 passing for 71 yards, while the Eagles hit just 4-for-11 for 35 yards.
Beachum keys attack
Beachum finished with 114 yards on 20 carries, while Jamelle Bowers added 106 yards on 14 attempts. Zordich picked up 70 yards on 14 rushes while McCarthy added 56 more on just nine tries.
Bobby Youkam led the Eagles with 84 yards in 10 carries.
"We were pleased with our performance throwing the ball, but we are a running team," said Fecko. "We were able to control the clock and swing field position in our favor.
"We have a lot of capable people running the ball. A lot of people are looking for us to run the quarterback, but we are able to come at them from a lot of different angles."