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Mooney slips past East, 7-0

YOUNGSTOWN — It felt similar to the play two years ago when Girard quarterback Mark Waid hit Jimmy Jones on a short pass. Jones broke a tackle and scored the game-winning touchdown en route to Girard playing for the Division IV state championship.

Flash forward to Friday night at Stambaugh Stadium again. Mooney quarterback Pat Guerrieri was engulfed by a pack of East Golden Bears.

Instead of seeing a demoralizing play set them back again, Guerrieri avoided the sack and found A.J. Pechia on a 15-yard pass with 32 seconds left in the third quarter to put Mooney up 7-0.

“That was a great individual play by Pat,” Mooney coach Carl Pelini said. “A good catch by A.J. coming from the backside. They are two talented seniors that came up with the big play there.”

Until then, East was opportunistic and turned away the Cardinals all night, but it was that one play that did them in again.

“We had the guy tackled, but he made a great play,” East coach Brian Marrow said. “It was like a Ben Roethlisberger play. He broke out and threw the touchdown. We had it.”

Until then they did have it as the Cardinals ran countless plays on the East side of the field and had 119 total yards of offense but were stuck in a scoreless game with the Golden Bears who had just 22 total yards in the first half.

“Our defense played really well,” Pelini said. “Our offense didn’t. Give them a lot of credit, they played hard on defense. We just didn’t play well offensively. We ran a lot of plays, but turned the ball over in the red zone twice.

“We shot ourselves in the foot over and over again. We’re just not very sharp on offense right now. I knew there would be some growing pains with the new system, but by now, I thought we’d be further ahead then we are now.”

Throughout the first half, the Golden Bears struggled to find productivity or consistency on the offensive end with just three first downs and 0-for-5 on third downs.

“Our defense played a hell of a game,” Marrow said. “We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot again. We were in holes. Field position was pretty bad in the first half.”

It looked like Mooney was going to break the scoreless game when it took over possession with 4:06 remaining before halftime. They drove to the East 18-yard line before the drive stalled.

A 35-yard field goal attempt by Brian Phillibin went wide left with seven seconds left in the first half to keep it scoreless.

Things didn’t improve much for either team in the second half, as East had only two first downs and only 34 yards in the second half to finish with 56 total yards, compared to 226 for the Cardinals.

Zy’ere Rogers led Mooney with 128 yards rushing as Guerrieri had 53 through the air.

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