By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Mogadore head coach Matt Adorni wanted his team to get out to a fast start on Friday.
His Wildcats certainly listened.
Mogadore led 7-0 after just 19 seconds and it jumped to 14-0 after only 3 minutes and 21 seconds.
Not even Adorni could have imagined that kind of fast start.
It set the tone for what became a dominant 47-6 Portage Trail Conference and Homecoming victory over the visiting Southeast Pirates.
“Homecoming games can sometimes be a distraction, but I was real proud of how our team came out and executed,” Adorni said. “In the blink of an eye, we were up 14-0 and that kind of start to a game is very rare.”
For Southeast, the unraveling began on the opening kickoff.
After Austin Constantine connected on a medium-depth kick, the Wildcats raced down and stripped the ball out of the hands of the Pirates’ ball-carrier at the Southeast 27.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Southeast jumped offsides, then Zeke Cameron zipped a pass that Corey Lehner nicely pulled out of the air, in stride, down the right seam and into the end zone for a 22 yard-yard touchdown.
Constantine kicked the extra point, then lined up for the ensuing kickoff that turned into an onside kick.
Mogadore recovered on the Southeast 38.
Five plays later, Aaron Rumschlag powered across the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown.
For Mogadore, you could not script a better start.
For Southeast, you could not have dreamt a worse start.
“When you play at Mogadore, you realize the mountain you have to climb just to try to win a game on their home field,” Southeast head coach Patrick Youel said. “Then you dig yourself a 14-0 hole, with turnovers and penalties. Against a team like, in this stadium, that is disastrous.”
Mogadore added a third first-quarter touchdown, Rumschlag’s second of the night and this one from 1 yard out, to go up 21-0 still with 6:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Offensively, Southeast ran only seven plays in the first quarter and managed a meager 2 yards.
And the Wildcats were not slowing down.
Mogadore (6-2, 2-0 PTC) punched in another touchdown at the start of the second quarter to go up 27-0. Constantine scored it on a run from the 1-yard line.
The score made it 27 points in only 14 minutes for the Cats.
Southeast (6-2, 1-1 PTC) finally got on the board with 2:56 before half-time. After finding success with some mis-direction runs out of its single-wing offense, Southeast was faced with a fourth down at the Mogadore 12-yard line.
Quarterback Joe Sharish threw a fade route to the back left corner of the end zone to Jack Muldowney, who was challenged, but came down with the catch for the touchdown.
It accounted for the only points of the night for the Pirates.
And Mogadore wasted little time to respond, scoring on a 32-yard pass from Cameron to Lehner just 53 seconds later to make the halftime score 34-6.
On the passing play, Cameron rolled to his left, while a series of routes also filled the left side of the field. However, Cameron set his feet, turned his shoulders and hit Lehner running a post route to the right of the field. A well-placed throw that led Lehner into open space resulted in the touchdown.
Mogadore added a pair of touchdowns in the second half: A 2-yard run by Cole Reese in the third quarter and a 2-yard run by Conner Lehner in the fourth quarter.
In the first half, when the Wildcats took full control of the game, Southeast ran 22 plays for a total of 46 yards. Meanwhile, Mogadore’s 26 plays produced 227 yards.
The Cats had seven different runners in the game and none of them had more than 57 yards.
For Southeast, Maverick Wood led the team in rushing with 52 yards, while Bruce Nelson ran four times in the fourth quarter for 41 yards.
The two teams are set for important PTC showdowns over the last two final weeks of the season.
Next week, in Week 9, the Pirates will host the undefeated Rootstown Rovers.
The Rovers then host the Wildcats in Week 10 for what could be the PTC championship game.