Playing on the road against a powerful and undefeated Colonel Crawford squad, Cardington coach Tod Brininger had to be happy with how his team started the game. However, after that start, it was all Eagles, as the Crawford County squad scored 65 unanswered points in running away with a 65-6 win.
“Physically, they just beat us up,” said Brininger. “We knew that would be a problem for us and it was. We couldn’t do anything with their offensive and defensive lines.”
The Pirates got the ball to open the game and immediately drove down the field, scoring on a 60-yard run by junior back Ayden Plowman. A two-point conversion run by Ashton Plowman was successful, but got taken off the board due to offsetting penalties on the play. The Eagles would then stop Cardington on a second attempt at two points to keep the score at 6-0 with 9:34 left in the first quarter.
The Cardington defense then rose up, getting a three-and-out on CC’s first possession of the game. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the rest of the game would be all Eagles. Colonel Crawford responded by forcing a three-and-out — setting the stage for their defensive performance the rest of the game. The Pirates would be held to 79 total yards and 10 first downs, while also turning the ball over five times.
“Our offensive lien could not move their defensive line,” said Brininger. “We had speed, but couldn’t get it out in open space.”
The Eagles had no such problems on offense the rest of the way, scoring on their next seven possessions. Running back Lincoln Mollenkopf got things started on their next drive, running four times for 46 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown. Braxton Morton, who was perfect kicking in the game, added the extra point to give CC a 7-6 lead.
Mollenkopf would add runs of one and 40 yards, while quarterback Kamryn Lohr hit Carter Valentine for a 34-yard score and Matt Clinard also scored on a 14-yard carry to boost the Eagle lead to a 35-6 margin with 5:30 to go in the half.
Meanwhile, turnovers were killing the Pirates. In the first half, they were victimized by three interceptions and a fumble, while also turning the ball over on downs once. After Clinard’s score, a Cardington fumble was returned for a score by Jacob Awbrey. The Pirates then took the ball from their 37 to the Eagle six thanks to passes from Nate Hickman to Austin Henthorn and Ashton Plowman; as well as 12 rushing and six passing yards by Kaiden Beach, who entered the game at QB when an Eagle defender was called for targeting on Hickman — which added 15 more yards to the drive.
However, Beach was intercepted and the ball was returned to near midfield, setting up a Morton field goal to send Colonel Crawford to the half up by a 45-6 margin.
“They had short fields most of the night to be honest,” said Brininger. “This was a great wake-up call going into the league.”
Playing with a running clock in the second half, the Eagles added to their lead. Micah Thomas had a touchdown run in the third quarter, while Michael Walsh scored on the ground in the fourth. CC also got a touchdown on a late pass from Lucas Foy to Brady Hill.
Cardington got 14 yards through the air from Hickman, who also ran for 22. Ayden Plowman had 58 yards on the ground and added three catches for 11 yards.
For the Eagles, Mollenkopf had 183 yards, while Lohr completed five passes for 76 yards and added 41 on the ground. Both Valentine (47 yards) and Nolan McKibbon (27) had two catches.