CARDINGTON — The 73rd battle of backyard rivals Mount Gilead and Cardington proved to be an entertaining one with 99 points on the board and plenty of offensive fireworks.
The host Pirates, bolstered by a ground attack led by Mason Goers (20 carries for 271 yards), defeated the Indians 63-36 in a rain-soaked season finale.
Goers scored four times on runs of 63, 3, 37 and 51 yards as Cardington finished at 3-7.
The sophomore also led both teams in a post-game prayer.
“That’s something he’s done every game, home and away,” said coach Beau Wolford. Goers entered the contest with more than 1,200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
While Goers returns next season, a number of Cardington players will graduate.
“We will lose a small, but very good, group of seniors,” Wolford said. “Our seniors worked hard every single day. They wanted to win the last one on their home field tonight.”
Mount Gilead finished winless in 10 starts, but coach Joe Ulrey told his team to keep their heads high.
“I’m pleased that we never gave up. We had plenty of tough times this season, but they kept fighting,” he said.
Cardington quarterback Daniel Kill went 94 yards untouched to open the scoring. But a 12-play drive capped by a 26-yard Seth Young to Timmy Brower touchdown pass kept the Indians in the game early.
More big plays would follow as the teams combined for 572 yards of offense in the first half.
The Pirates went ahead 28-14 at halftime thanks to a Kill to Garrett Wagner 45-yard pass and two scores by Goers. Kill ran for 155 yards on five carries and completed six passes for 134 yards.
Young connected with junior wide receiver Mason Mollohan six times for 103 yards, with two of them going for touchdowns. Brower caught five balls for 82 yards. On the night Young connected on 17-of-23 pass attempts for 247 yards.
Ulrey said he’ll miss his signal-caller next year.
“Seth will be tough to replace at the quarterback position. He made great strides in one year. Timmy made big plays for us all year.”
Senior Hunter Trimer ran hard for the Indians, gaining 113 yards on 23 carries and one score.
In the fourth quarter Wolford inserted senior linebacker Tyler Villella at running back and he went seven yards for the final Cardington touchdown.
It was a reward for his hard work all season, Wolford said. The 5-10, 195-pound Villella has been the top tackler for the Pirates, registering seven sacks, 81 solo tackles and 19 tackles for loss entering week 10.
Freshman defensive back Zach Lester had a late-game interception.
Ulrey knows he has some key players returning.
“Mason may be the best receiver in the league. He has great hands and jumps very well with his size advantage. Garrett Casto is a leader on defense,” Ulrey said.
Mollohan had more than 900 receiving yards. Casto was the team’s leading tackler.
“I told our kids I hope they can take something positive from this season and use it in their lives. That’s the reason that we coach,” Ulrey said.
The series stands at 36-36-1.