Bring on the City Series rivals. Buchtel has had quite enough of its nonleague foes.
Not many teams have had to face the kind of rugged early-season schedule the Griffins had. On Saturday, it was Youngstown Cardinal Mooney rolling into Akron and pinning a 47-12 defeat on winless Buchtel (0-3).
The Griffins hung tough early, trailing just 13-6 after Christopher Davis hit Eric Rucker for a 3-yard touchdown pass. But Mooney (2-1) responded with a long scoring drive that chewed up most of what remained in the first half.
That seemed to suck the energy out of Buchtel, which didn’t score again until the final play of the game.
“We played a good football team,” Buchtel coach Ricky Powers said. “The big thing about it is, we’ve got to come to play and we didn’t.”
Two big miscues in the punting game — one in the first quarter and the other early in the second half — resulted in easy scores for the Cardinals, and those contributed mightily to the lopsided score.
Attempting to kick from his own end zone, the Griffins’ punter mishandled the snap and Mooney’s Christian Lowery emerged from a pile of players with the ball to provide a 13-0 lead with 2:02 left in the opening quarter.
On Buchtel’s first possession after the break, the Cardinals’ Mark Handel blocked a punt inside the 10-yard line and scooped up the loose ball in the end zone. Zak Kennedy’s fourth of five extra points made it 30-6.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t think they would do,” Powers said. “It comes to a point where your team wants to play football, man, and they have to have the will to want to play. We’re just going to keep fighting. Maybe we’ll find a way.”
Two perennial state powers, Canton McKinley and Lakewood St. Edward, proved too much for the Griffins the first two weeks. Mooney has won eight state titles, including the 2011 Division III championship.
Buchtel will begin its league schedule, hosting Firestone at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re in the City now so that’s going to help out a little bit,” Powers said. “They’re going to play guys they know and are familiar with. I think that would do some good for us. But it was a tough schedule and sometimes you wonder if they were too young to play that schedule.”
Mooney’s rushing attack netted 301 yards, paced by junior C.J. Amill who carried 15 times for 137 yards. Junior quarterback Jon Saadey completed 9-of-11 passes for 125 yards.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Amill had 12 and 13 yards on his first two carries, setting up Saadey’s 26-yard touchdown pass down the middle to a wide-open Ryan Megyesi. That capped a six-play, 80-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown.
A 29-yard run by Davis, who scooped up a teammate’s fumble and took it to the Mooney 5-yard line, set up his own scoring pass two plays later.
But a 19-play, 85-yard march that took 8:38 off the clock resulted in Handel’s 3-yard touchdown run for a 20-6 lead. The Cardinals also added an 18-yard field goal by Kennedy with three seconds left in the half for a 23-6 lead.
Mooney added touchdowns on Jordan Jones’ 65-yard run and Anthony Gill’s 38-yarder in the second half, and Kennedy added a 22-yard field goal.
A 24-yard scoring pass from Davis to junior Deric Rucker made it 47-12 on the game’s last play.
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