The difference between Cardington and Fredericktown in a Friday night football contest won 32-14 by the Freddies could have been summed up by a handful of plays in the first half — all of which were big and all of which went Fredericktown’s way.
After forcing a quick punt on the game’s opening drive, the Pirates showed promise on their first drive. Facing fourth-and-two from their 43, Cardington dialed up a fake punt and Branden Steckel was able to scramble for two. Daniel Kill was able to connect with Garrett Wagner for 11 yards, but a holding call on the next play pushed the ball back to the Pirate 39.
However, facing third-and-16, Kill was able to hit Wagner for a 61-yard touchdown that seemingly gave the home team an early lead…until a penalty wiped out that play and, after a run went nowhere, Cardington was forced to punt.
It didn’t take long for the Freddies to strike, as quarterback Jimmy Nussbaum connected with Alexander Hamilton on a screen pass that turned into a 70-yard gain that moved the ball to the Pirate one. Nussbaum then took the ball in for the score and the ensuing extra point gave them a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Fredericktown scored on two straight drives, getting a 72-yard touchdown run by Nussbaum and a 51-yard score on an end-around to Zayde Zolman. On that second score, they added a two-point conversion to increase their advantage to a 22-0 margin.
“We just, in the first half, had a lot of things that went against us,” said Pirate coach Beau Wolford. “Defensively, we were there for most of the game and offensively, we were able to move the ball, but just couldn’t capitalize inside the 30.”
Cardington was able to capitalize on their next drive, though. A pass interference against the Freddies got the ball into enemy territory and Trey Brininger was able to connect with Wagner for 29 yards to move the ball to the 10. A run by Ty Landon combined with a face mask against Fredericktown got the Pirates to the three-yard line and Mason Goers took it the rest of the way. Steckel added the extra point to make it 22-7, which is how it remained going into the break.
The Pirates couldn’t capitalize on their opening possession in the third quarter, though, and Fredericktown made them pay. A low snap combined with good Freddie pressure led to a punt attempt turning into a fumble, giving the visitors the ball on the Cardington eight.
While the Pirate defense held, the Freddies were able to come away with a 25-yard field goal by Jud Brandenburg to move in front by 18.
An eight-yard pass to Brininger and a 32-yard run by Goers moved Cardington to the Fredericktown 32, but their drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs. Fredericktown responded with an eight-play drive ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Nussbaum to Xavier Stallard.
Cardington would continue to battle throughout the fourth quarter, getting a 40-yard scoring run by Goers, but they were unable to make up that deficit as they fell to 2-7, 1-5 in Knox Morrow Athletic Conference play. The team will finish its season Friday at home against rival Mount Gilead — a game that Wolford expects his charges to be very motivated to play.
“I think they’ll motivate themselves,” he said. “We’ll get after it and bring out a good group of guys who are ready to play.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS