The AP Offensive Player of the Year, Springfield Shawnee QB Brad Jarzab, versus the AP Defensive Player of the Year, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney LB Courtney Love. Jarzab won on paper. But Love, showing no mercy, won the ring….how it happened.
The AP Offensive Player of the Year, Springfield Shawnee QB Brad Jarzab, versus the AP Defensive Player of the Year, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney LB Courtney Love. Jarzab won on paper, throwing for 122 yards and running for 139 yards and two TDs. But Love, showing no mercy, won the ring, the trophy, and the D-III contest 21-14 with a team-high 7 1/2 tackles. One of two storied programs playing in this year’s title games, the Cardinals earned their 8th state crown, tying Newark Catholic for second most all-time team championships. They improve their all-time tournament record to 56-17. Cardinal coach P.J. Fecko explained, “We are so programmed. In a trance for 15 weeks, preparing, practicing, lifting, meetings, game plans…Punch the clock and go to work and at the end of the day, the rewards will come.” Some things never change. – By Tim Langevin
Video by Alex Sator
YOUNGSTOWN MOONEY MOVES INTO SECOND PLACE TIE FOR MOST FOOTBALL TITLES EVER
(Division III Championship at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium)
By Tim Langevin
CANTON – Tradition won out over hunger. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney held off a late fourth quarter drive by Shawnee to win the D-III title 21-14 Friday afternoon. It was the Cardinals eighth state title, tying Newark Catholic for second most all-time team championships.
And all the super-hero characters like Batman, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, and Wonder Woman couldn’t pull off the “Never Fear, Underdog is Here” upset special. The Braves magical season, along with its real-life fictional characters, ran out of come-from-behind miracles against a bigger, stronger, and faster Mooney squad.
Shawnee coach Rick Meeks stated the obvious, “They were much bigger, faster, and stronger than us. It’s called physics. Their three-man front was able to take us out of our game. They were bigger across the board, but we knew that going in. But I thought our kids played with heart and they had a chance to win it.”
Heads down and tears flowing, Meeks told his troops, “This is all icing. Be proud of what you accomplished. I know you’re hurting, but you set out to win the CBC and a regional title and you did it. I love you guys and I am so proud of you. You played with heart. You played with more heart than they did.”
After a scoreless back and forth first quarter, Mooney struck first in the second quarter when RB Roosevelt Griffin eluded tacklers and pranced into the endzone from 18 yards out. Conor Durina made the PAT and the Cards led 7-0.
Shawnee responded with a time-consuming 79-yard drive, capped by a Brad Jarzab nifty 15-yard TD run with 8:39 left until half to draw even. Carlly Gregory kicked the PAT. Jarzab ran for 41 yards and passed for 37 yards, including a clutch 12-yard reception to James Wilson on third-down and seven.
Mooney countered with an impressive 70-yard march to reclaim the lead 14-7 with 6:16 until the break. Griffin busted a 34-yard run and ditto, Justus Ellis-Moore did the same, before QB P.J. Quinn punched it in from two yards out.
Mooney coach P.J. Fecko stated, “Griffin and Ellis-Moore are quality players who can grind out yards and eat clock.”
The Cards added another second quarter score to up the lead 21-7, courtesy of Quinn’s one-yard plunge. The second quarter was full of fireworks as 28 combined points were scored.
Accustomed to playing from behind the past four weeks, the Braves staged another impressive march to get back in it 21-14 with 5:38 left in the game. The drive covered 91 yards in 15 plays and consumed 5:24 of clock. Shawnee converted 4-of-4 third-downs. Jarzab accounted for 51 yards via the air and Alex McCrory added 28 yards on the ground.
“We squandered some opportunities, but the kids exhibited mental toughness for four quarters,” Fecko said. “We stayed motivated week after week. We are so programmed. In a trance for 15 weeks…I’m sure later this will all sink in for the kids.”
Mooney was forced to punt after a three and out and Shawnee was back in business with 3:48 left in the contest and 80 yards from paydirt. The Braves marched to the Mooney 17-yard-line, aided by two pass interference penalties totaling 30 yards. But on fourth and five, Jarzab’s pass to Tyler Sherrock fell incomplete. End of cinderella season.
Meeks said, “Our plan was to keep it close and see if we could pull it out in the end. We almost did it…If we would’ve scored on that last drive, we would’ve gone for two and the win. But I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Shawnee had more first downs (20-14), total yards (318-272), and third-down conversions (6-of-13 to 4-of-13) than Mooney, but lost the scoreboard battle.
Jarzab ran for 139 yards and two TDs and passed for 122 yards with one interception. McCrory gained 56 yards on the ground for the Braves.
Griffin and Ellis-Moore pounded for 190 yards and one score for the Cards.
Mooney finished 11-3 on the season and Shawnee finished 14-1.