Mooney forces four Boardman turnovers in victory

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Boardman’s miscues

too much to overcome




It’s cliche, but it’s very much true that defense makes all the difference. Or, at least it did for Cardinal Mooney in a 21-7 victory over rival Boardman at Spartan Stadium on Friday night.

The Cardinals (2-3) forced four turnovers — two with their back to their own end zone and a third that resulted in a score — to keep the Spartans (3-2) in check.

Photo Gallery: Boardman vs Cardinal Mooney

“The guys just played hard,” Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. “They played with a tremendous amount of effort. They did a great job of lining up every play and playing hard, playing physical. My hat’s off to the defense. Not only the potential fourth-down conversions we stopped, but Boardman was playing with a short field.

“The defense just played well. They got us off the field and the offense moved the ball when it needed to.”

The Mooney defense held on fourth-and-3 from its own 28 with 3:11 to play in the first half. On the very next play, Antonio Page hit Anthony Fire for a 72-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

“On that TD pass, you can’t put that many men in the box and not be susceptible to that,” Fecko said.

On the Spartans’ next play from scrimmage, Vinny Gentile scooped up a fumble and raced 18 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 Mooney lead with 2:53 left in the half.

“Obviously, that changed things a lot for us,” Fecko said. “We had just scored, we kicked off and they fumbled. We scooped it up and scored. Then they broke the kick return across the 50 and had plenty of time to score, but didn’t.”

Starting at the Mooney 43, the Spartans moved all the way to the 3-yard line, but an interception allowed the Cardinals to run out the clock.

“Every time we had momentum, we shot ourselves in the foot,” Boardman coach Joe Ignazio said. “We’d get going, then turn the ball over in the red zone. That’s way too tough to overcome against a good team like Mooney. I thought we were by far the better football team and didn’t play anywhere near our potential.”

Boardman finally put a scoring drive together late in the third period marching 42 yards in six plays. Domonhic Jennings danced in from the seven with 1:17 to go in the period to cut the Spartans’ deficit in half, 14-7.

“We got [the deficit] to seven,” Ignazio said. “We felt confident, then we turned the ball over again. In the third quarter, our offense was on their side of the field the entire quarter. And we didn’t get any points until [just before] the fourth.”

After a poor punt, Mooney moved 34 yards capped by Jason Santisi’s 2-yard plunge to take a two-score advantage, 21-7, with just over six minutes left.

Boardman had a ready answer, however, and moved all the way down to the Cardinal 6 before fumbling the ball away. Mooney’s Nico Marchionda recovered inside the 1 with 3:46 to go. The Cardinals ran out the clock from there.

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