By Chez Allison
Buffalo’s Canisius football team brought its strong defense to Stambaugh Stadium for Saturday’s showdown with Cardinal Mooney.
Canisius (6-0) forced five fumbles and recovered all of them.
Three of the fumbles came after Mooney crossed midfield and two came inside the Canisius 20-yard line.
The turnovers proved costly as the Crusaders beat the Cardinals 31-14.
“Just a tough day holding onto the ball,” Mooney head coach P.J. Fecko said. “Turnovers hurt us a lot today, especially being in scoring position twice.”
Colby Moultrie of Canisius caused a fumble and was able to recover the loose ball. His recovery led to Kenyatta Huston scoring on a 29-yard run later in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.
The Cardinals were able to strike right back with a Jaylen Hewlett 9-yard score in the second quarter to tie the game.
On Mooney’s first possession of the second half, Mason Hoose recovered an Antonio Page fumble setting up a Hoose 2-yard touchdown run.
Hoose recovered three fumbles on the day for Canisius.
The Crusaders’ Jayce Johnson put the game away in the fourth quarter with two rushing touchdowns.
Raeqwon Greer led Canisius with 78 yards on 19 carries.
Mooney’s defense played well considering the short field position it was forced to defend. The Cardinals kept it close throughout as Mooney trailed 10-7 at halftime and 17-14 after three quarters.
“This team doesn’t quit,” Fecko said. “The kids fought hard and tried not to let the turnovers keep them down.”
Canisius didn’t produce much offensively. The Crusaders managed just 169 yards and converted just 33 percent of their third-down situations.
Mooney’s Ray Anderson made eight tackles and two sacks while Andre McCoy registered five tackles, including one for a huge loss. Brennan Olesh had an interception and a fumble recovery.
“Obviously turnovers make it almost impossible to climb out of a hole, but I think we moved the ball well — just a poor job of taking care of the ball,” Fecko said.
Hewlett carried the offense with 12 carries racking up 157 yards and a score with a 70-yard run in the third quarter.
Page had 13 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown while also throwing for 30 yards.
Anderson added 50 yards rushing combined with his strong defensive outing.
Cardinal Mooney was able to move the chains at an effective rate. The Cardinals had 311 yards, including 281 on the ground.
Up next for Mooney is undefeated Warren Harding.
“Warren is extremely talented and playing with a ton of confidence right now,” Fecko said. “It’s going to be a daunting task but we’ll be up for it.”