Red Lion Christian Academy’s football team of Delaware looked the part of the flashy visiting team when it warmed up on Stambaugh Stadium’s turf prior to Saturday night’s game against Cardinal Mooney.
On the other end of the field was Mooney, which went about it pregame preparations not looking for cameras.
But when Mooney faced a third-and-15 situation late in the game when trailing, 16-14, Ryan Farragher was in the spotlight.
The senior’s catch gave Mooney a first down that was followed by Justus Ellis-Moore’s 39-yard touchdown run that pulled the Cardinals on top with 1:57 left in a 21-16 win over the highly acclaimed team.
“It was just to get past the sticks and P.J. made a good throw and I had some room to work with,” Farragher said of the open space he found when he leaped to catch the ball from quarterback P.J. Quinn after running his route on a “Lucky and Up” play.
One play later, Ellis-Moore on an inside-left play ..when he first got the ball he said he was thinking that he got a break.
“Coach [P.J. Fecko] was telling us all week that we needed a break and I got one,” the junior said of a hole that opened on the right side of his offensive line.
Fecko was asked about how the quality win ranks among the ones he’s had.
“I’m not in the ranking business,” Fecko said. “I know that our guys did a really good job all week of getting themselves ready and preparing and then again Saturday in their executing.”
Beating a team of Red Lion’s stature was not out of the ordinary.
“When you look at our schedule and break it down, the opponents that we played so far and the ones we have on the rest of the schedule is just that: not out of the ordinary,” Fecko said. “Each week it’s going to be a quality opponent that’s ready to play and you’d better be ready to play.”
Mooney (3-2) has beaten Boardman and Canton McKinley and lost to St. Edward and Mentor Lake Catholic.
The Cardinals, ranked No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press state poll of Division III teams, overcame three second-half fumbles and four [turnovers] for game.
“That was not a good situation, obviously, but that’s a tribute to our defense: not only the fact that they were turnovers,” Fecko said. “But where they happened in a short field and we ended up forcing them into field goals most of the time, which proved to be big later down the road.”
Red Lion coach Dwayne Thomas noted Farragher’s big catch.
“I believe that the third-and-15 that they converted was an extremely big play and their quarterback made a gutsy play. I felt that that was probably the key play for them in the second half.”
Of Red Lion football, he said: “As you get around you play tough teams and you’ve got to grind it out.
“I think our kids came out and ground it out and were in position to win the game because we dominated the second half.
“Great possessions ended with a kick [PAt after a touchdown], but too many end with three-point kicks [field goals], so we really wanted to score a little more.”