For the third straight week, Highland was able to ride a dominating first-half performance to a win in KMAC football.
After taking 44-0 leads into the intermission in wins over Mount Gilead and Fredericktown in their previous two games, they jumped in front of Cardington by a 41-0 count after two quarters of play in a game they would win by a 41-7 margin.
“I thought we got out to a good start tonight and the kids played hard,” said Scot head coach Chad Carpenter after his team improved to 7-1, 5-0 in league play. “The defense played really well tonight. I thought we answered the challenge and played well.”
The Scots didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. After taking the opening kick to their 37, the team got a 38-yard run by Brock Veley and Ian Taylor then connected with Isaiah Stoneburner for a 25-yard touchdown. A two-point run by Brody Matthews made it 8-0 only 21 seconds into the contest.
“They’re big and fast,” said Cardington coach Tim Plumley about Highland. “They’re well-coached and good at what they do.”
After Highland forced a quick Pirate punt, they then drove down the field more methodically, taking 12 plays and 5:09 to advance to the end zone, with Taylor handling the scoring honors with a three-yard run. Veley ran the ball in for two points to make it 16-0.
Cardington got off to a good start on their next drive, with Mason Goers rushing for 18 yards on the opening play. However, they would then stall and be forced to punt the ball back to the Scots. Matthews netted 35 yards on two rushs and Tate Tobin then got 15 yards on two carries, including a five-yard scoring run that gave Highland a 22-0 advantage late in the quarter.
Highland then put the game away with a second quarter that saw them score three touchdowns and Cardington commit the same number of turnovers. The Pirates suffered two fumbles in the period and also had an errant snap on a punt attempt that was recoverd by the Scots.
“The turnovers plagued us,” said Plumley. “We’ve had three or four the last few weeks and that’s what puts us behind the eight ball. You can’t do that any week, especially not against a team like Highland.”
Stoneburner scored Highland’s first touchdown of the period on a 17-yard reception of a Taylor pass. Tobin then ran for a 40-yard score and Taylor got his third scoring pass of the day in the final minute of the quarter, hitting Chase Ray for a 37-yard touchdown.
With a running clock for the duration of the second half, both teams only had three possessions. Cardington made the most of their second time with the ball, opening with a 30-yard run by Goers and ending with a 38-yard score by Kolton Honeter on the ground to make the score 41-7, which is how it ended.
For the Scots, Taylor completed 6-0f-10 passes for 106 yards and three scores, with Stoneburner catching three for 54 yards. On the ground, Matthews tallied 67 yards and both Veley and Tobin added 59. All of Cardington’s yards came via the run, with Goers tallying 94 of that number.
The Pirates, still looking for their first win, will close their season with road contests with Fredericktown and Mount Gilead — two teams that also have struggled to claim victories. Next up: the 1-7 Freddies.
“That’s what we talked about with the kids — to end the season in a good way,” said Plumley. “Nothing is guaranteed and I’m sure they’re looking at us the same way, so we have to come out and execute.”
Highland is looking for big wins as they need computer points to make the playoffs for a second straight year, as they’re currently ranked 10th in Region 14 of Division IV. That makes their upcoming game with 7-1 East Knox huge, both for that and to improve their odds of claiming a league title.
“Coach (Cody) Reese will have his kids ready to play,” said Carpenter. “It’s always a good game with them — a hard-fought game.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS