Cardinal Mooney and Cincinnati Moeller waited 33 years for the two Ohio football powers to finally play the rubber match of their three-game series.
Mooney won in 1973 with Ted Bell leading the way and Moeller handed the Cards a convincing loss in 1977.
Unfortunately for Mooney, the Cards were forced to face the Crusaders with less than a full squad, decimated by injuries and suffered a 44-7 defeat to Moeller at Stambaugh Stadium on Friday night.
“You have to go with what you have,” said Mooney coach P.J Fecko, whose team was missing a half-dozen starters and will limp into the postseason with the status of several of those players’ still undetermined.
Mooney lost Pat McGlone to a season-ending neck injury last week against Ursuline, while Chris DeChellis, quarterback Kevin McGuire and tailback Charlie Brown were among other key starters held out of action.
“Those injuries cost us some continuity,” Fecko said. “When you aren’t used to working with the guy next to you it causes some uncertainty. It is what it is and we have to get better.
“Some guys are wait and see and others are out for a while so it will be interesting to see.”
Moeller on the other hand, will head to the playoffs with plenty of momentum and with a strong running attack that gave the Cardinals plenty of trouble.
The Crusaders’ huge offensive line helped Moeller’s backs rush for 450 yards on 50 carries.
Tailback Tucker Skove led the way with 211 yards and two touchdowns.
“They are a big ball club that is very physical,” Fecko said of Moeller. “They have shown that they can run the ball all season and tonight they did that very well and controlled the line of scrimmage.”
Despite the struggles, Mooney did its damage early in the game as they took the opening kickoff and scored on its first possession.
Roosevelt Griffin, filling in for Brown, raced 60 yards for a score that put the Cards briefly ahead in the game.
Griffin finished with 108 yards rushing, all in the first half, on nine carries. Carmen Leonelli added 42 yards on 11 carries.
Moeller came to Youngstown off a couple of back-to-back losses to Lakewood St. Edward and Cincinnati LaSalle and needed a win badly.
“This will give us some momentum heading into the playoffs,” said Moeller coach John Rodenberg. “We wanted to get back to basics and run the ball. We needed this win bad and I thought we played real well tonight.
Rodenberg had a lot of praise for the Cards despite the easy victory.
“I saw a lot of guys out for Mooney which is a good move by them because I think they can still make a run in the playoffs. I still think they can go far if not win the whole thing.”