||All-American Conference Gold Tier
Lynch rack up big
numbers on ground
By Greg Gulas
The Cardinal Mooney Cardinals rushed for 330 yards against Warren Harding on Thursday evening with running back Ray Anderson (154) and quarterback Jack Lynch (142) combining for 296 of those yards.
It was the three carries for seven hard-fought yards by Jaylen Hewlett, however, that might have been the most valuable.
Lynch and Hewlett each scored two touchdowns while a key five-yard run on third down by Hewlett kept their final drive alive as the Cardinals defeated the Raiders, 27-19 at YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium.
“When my name was called I just had to get the job done. It was a close game all night and on our last drive I just had wanted to finish,” Hewlett said. “I tried to make the best play possible on all three carries, hoping to get as many yards possible and either the first down or touchdown for my team.”
Cardinal Mooney (4-3) set the tone of the game right at the outset by taking the opening kick-off and marching 62 yards down the field, needing 11 plays while chewing up 5:34 off the clock with Hewlett’s two-yard scamper giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
Lynch’s seven-yard tally mid-way through the second stanza then increased their lead to 14-0.
“Our plays were designed to go outside, but our offensive line created some big holes so I was able to tuck the ball and just ran it up the field,” Lynch stated. “Our o-line did a great job all night and we just played tough Mooney football by running the ball.”
Warren Harding (5-3) quarterback Lynn Bowden, who rushed for a team-high 112 yards on 17 totes, then got the Raiders on the board with a one-yard run prior to intermission to cut the lead to 14-7 at the half.
Anderson, like Lynch, had 59 yards in the opening session.
“We wanted to come into today’s game and just get back to the basics. We pushed the ball hard in order to take them out of their comfort zone, hoping to slow the game down and keep it at our pace,” he noted.
When Bowden found Marlin Richardson from 52 yards away just 68 seconds into the second half, the Raiders managed to cut the lead to 14-13 after the failed placement.
Lynch’s 10-yard run at 1:15 of the period then stretched the Cardinals lead to 21-13 with 12 minutes remaining.
Bowden’s second scoring strike to Richardson, this time from 20 yards out at 9:49 of the final period would cut the margin to 21-19, but when Bowden was stopped short of the goal line on the conversion run the Cardinals maintained a 21-19 advantage.
“We’ve done a pretty job the last couple of games of controlling the line of scrimmage, as well as the clock and tempo of the game. We were fortunate to eat up a lot of clock on most of our drives tonight and that’s an important part of the game, especially in high school in how short the quarters are,” Cardinal coach P.J. Fecko said. “It puts you in a good situation, especially with field position. Tonight, we also did a pretty good job of finishing everything, except for the second to last drive when we fumbled, our guys up front did a really good job while our backs did an excellent job of finding their seams, they took some good pretty shots and held on to the ball.”
Cardinal Mooney’s final drive, a 17-play, 76-yard march that took 8:43 off the clock, culminated in Hewlett’s second touchdown of the game, also from two yards away as they sealed the eight-point victory.
The Raiders have now yielded 100 yards to three opposing backs over the past two weeks.
“At some point and time you have to be able to stop the run,” Raiders head coach Steve Arnold said. “If you can’t stop the run, then you are going to have issues.”
Cardinal Mooney racked up 367 yards of total offense to 263 for the Raiders, also holding a 20-12 first down advantage.