High School Sports

Prep football | Braden River flexes muscle in 49-0 win; Mooney announces new head coach

SARASOTA -- Luckily for Cardinal Mooney, spring football is all about getting better for fall regular season.

Braden River jumped out to an early 21-0 lead in the first quarter and rode that quick start to a 49-0 win Thursday night in a spring game at Cardinal Mooney.

The Cougars are in a rebuilding stage with former head coach Josh Smithers now an assistant at Riverview and the school's most decorated quarterback, Reese Vita, heading to college.

"I thought we would have a little more success with our line tonight on both sides," said Mooney interim head coach Paul Maechtle, the former Southeast coach. "We had 10 guys return up front, but Braden River is huge, and they just were more physical than us."

The Pirates' Raymond Thomas and Jaylin Austin rushed for a combined six touchdowns, all coming in the first half.

"We have a big offensive line, and we knew coming into the game Cardinal Mooney does a good job of disguising blitzes so we had to protect our quarterback and open holes for Austin and Thomas," Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said.

The Pirates defense showed why Braden River went (10-1) last season, holding a young and at times rattled Cougars offense to just two first downs in the first half, allowing the team to work on its depth in the second half.

"It was huge for us to get those younger guys out there and really see what they can do," Bradley said. "In the second half, it was all underclassmen; you never really know what you have until you put them in live action."

During the game, Cardinal Mooney announced Andrew Lascari, the offensive coordinator from powerhouse Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, is going to be the team's new head coach.

Don Bosco won state titles from 2006-2011 while becoming New Jersey's first football team to win a national championship, doing so in 2009 and 2011.

"I haven't heard much about him, but I know his mother resides down here and I'm excited to work with him," Maechtle said. "I'm going to help all I can from an assistant head coaching position and learn from him."

Lascari was not present during the spring game but will be introduced at 6:30 p.m. May 28th at Mooney's gym.

"I'm looking forward to a bright future at Cardinal Mooney and am excited to get started," Lascari said via phone.

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