Mooney rolls over Big Red, 45-7

CANTON– After forcing a Steubenville punt, Mooney’s potent running game was unleashed. Going 81 yards in 8 plays, all on the ground, senior quarterback Alex Zordich plunged in from 4 yards out on a 4th down play. The PAT was good making it 7-0 with 5:38 to go in the 1st quarter.

The first quarter ended with Mooney maintaining its lead, but Big Red was on the move as the second quarter began.

With senior quarterback Dwight Macon hooking up with classmate Sage Cutri for a 35 yd. gain, Big Red was on the move. Six plays later, junior Jesse Birden went around the right end for a 4 yard score. Anthony Pierro’s kick knotted the game.

On the ensuing possession, Mooney wasted little time in regaining the lead. Five plays and 2:13 later, the Cardinals grabbed a 14-7 lead. Braylon Heard, a WVU verbal, dashed around the left end, cut back to the middle of the field and was gone from 43 yards away. A.J. Fox added the PAT.

Another Steubenville three-and-out gave Mooney the ball back on its own 35. Running the stretch play to the left again, Heard was off to the races once more. He covered the distance himself and Fox’s PAT made it a 21-7 reading.

After it appeared as if Big Red had forced a punt, Mooney barked out a hard count, drawing a Steubenville defender into the neutral zone. Mooney coach P. J. Fecko elected to go for a fourth-and-short after the penalty, Heard picked that up to extend the march. A few plays later, back up running back Ray Vinopal took the option pitch and dashed to the house from 30 yards out. Another Fox PAT made it 28-7.

Steubenville could get nothing going before the half expired.

On its second possession of the second half, Mooney was at it again. The Cardinals’ defense sacked Macon twice and forced a punt which was shanked. Big Red defense held for a fourth down, but Fecko immediately called for a field goal try. The reliable Fox drilled a 43 yarder from the left hash extending the margin to 31-7 with a shade over 6 minutes remaining in the third.

On its next offensive possession, Mooney went back to its workhorse. Heard bobbed and weaved his way through the line of scrimmage, cut to the right side line and was gone for a 95 yard touchdown run. After that carry, which proved to be the final Cardinals’ offensive play of the quarter, Heard had ran 21 times for 292 yards and 3 scores and his team had a 38-7 cushion.

Playing with its second team, Mooney tacked on a window-dressing touchdown when Ed Reese plunged in from a yard out. Fox’s sixth PAT made it a 45-7 reading.

Mooney took time down to the final ticks of the clock and made the game final with a 45-7 win and a trip to the state championship game next week.