After struggling with slow starts recently, Cardinal Mooney needed only 16 seconds to take a lead it would never relinquish Friday night. Over 800 combined yards of offense and 11 touchdowns later, Cardinal Mooney (1-4) was able to hold on for a 48-29 victory over district rival Calvary Christian.
Calvary Christian's first snap of the game went over quarterback Richie Mize's heading leading to a Cougar safety. Cardinal Mooney then quickly stretched its lead to nine points on a 4-yard run from senior Jaz Mongeon.
"I'm just so proud and happy for our kids." Head Coach Drew Lascari said after the game.
With only 23 players dressed due to injuries, Lascari turned to his senior running back and told Mongeon he needed to step up.
"We told Jaz going into this game he had to carry the workload for us," Lascari said. "And we knew that we could rely on No. 1. I'm glad that he ran the ball just so darn hard."
Mongeon responded by scoring four touchdowns on the night with three coming on the ground and one off a short screen pass from Tristin Hillerich that he took 59 yards for the score.
"This was the game even the coaches told me you got to step up," Mongeon said. "We established the run game, the passing game. As a team we really did our best. We did what we had to do tonight."
After suffering four tough losses to start his tenure at Cardinal Mooney, Lascari used a drill from the preseason to inspire his team.
"We just can't let go," Lascari said about changing the culture of the team. "It was a drill that we used in the summer where we would have two guys hold onto a tire and just pull it from each other and the first guy to let go lost. That was our mantra all week, just hold onto that tire, keep fighting."
The Cougars responded as the offense led the team to its first victory. Senior Alex Sobczak stretched Cardinal Mooney's early lead to 16-0 when he turned a short pass from Hillerich into a 56-yard touchdown.
"I was proud that we just started executing," Lascari said. "I think in our first four games we weren't making those plays and I think that finally tonight, offensively, we finally came together."
Calvary Christian responded quickly with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Richie Mize to Caleb Dials. That was as close as they would get, though, as the Cougars overcame Calvary Christian's 500-plus yards of offense to secure the win and take a big first step toward the playoffs.