Buchtel edges Mooney on late field goal
Two 15-yard flags
set up Griffins’ kick
By BOB ETTINGER
The Cardinal Mooney football team did enough earn a win on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals also grounded themselves just enough to be defeated. Ultimately, Mooney fell a single play short as Akron Buchtel scored a 10-9 win on Devin West’s field goal as time expired.
“As a competitor, any time you lose, it’s painful and it’s disheartening,” Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. “If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be much of a competitor.”
The Cardinals (3-4) led 9-7 and had held the Griffins (4-3) in check and pinned deep in their own territory for most of the fourth quarter. Two 15-yard penalties, however, put Buchtel at the Mooney 30 with just less than two minutes remaining in the contest.
“Any time you give up 30 yards that weren’t earned, it’s frustrating,” Fecko said. “That was 30 unearned yards of field position.”
It took the Griffins five plays to move 21 yards to the 9 where it was fourth-and-1 with five seconds to go. A Buchtel timeout had stopped the clock.
“We’ve never had a game where we came back in the final seconds to win with a field goal, at least in the 10 years I’ve been here,” Buchtel coach Ricky Powers said. “Our quarterback, I thought, played exceptionally well. On the penalties, I don’t know what happened, but they were huge. We’re always a threat to score and we finally finished.”
After Mooney called a timeout of its own, West sent a 26-yard attempt right through the center of the uprights for the victory.
“We practice that all the time,” Powers said. “He’s been kicking since he was a freshman. What a special moment for him. His brother (Dylan West) is a freshman and he’s the holder. We always practice that. We tell him to visualize. As a kicker, that’s what you want to do. He’s a special kid.”
The Cardinals had taken a 9-7 advantage after trailing, 7-3, to open the final period. Antonio Page fought hard for a 9-yard touchdown run. He stretched as far as his 5-foot-11 frame would allow with defenders hanging on to get the point of the ball over the plane of the end zone with 9:09 left in the fourth. The PAT was blocked.
“The guys did a great job making plays,” Fecko said. “They play with a tremendous amount of determination. They all do. Some look like they’re getting more beat up than others, but those guys in the trenches are getting beat up every play and they’re making things happen.”
Mooney broke a 0-0 deadlock on Mike Scavina’s 26-yard field goal with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter a long march stalled out at the Griffins’ 10.
Quarterback Brandon McGinnis put the Griffins in front, 7-3, after faking a handoff and racing 25 yards for a touchdown in immediate response to the Mooney field goal.
Mooney mounted the lone scoring threat between the teams in the first half, but had a touchdown nullified on a holding call and came away without points. For much of the afternoon, the Cardinals constantly countered positive gains with penalties and limited their own ability to put together sustained drives. They had nine penalties for 95 yards.
“The other thing that hurt us early was we had the touchdown called back,” Fecko said. “I think it was the opening drive and we went 80 yards. We went all the way down the field and had a touchdown called back. We ended up not getting any points. I think we played behind the sticks all day due to penalties.”