MOUNT GILEAD — Despite the lack of wins, there was no absence of emotion as Mount Gilead head football coach Joe Ulrey hugged and spoke with each of his seven seniors following a 30-16 loss to rival Cardington Friday night.
“Our senior class has done a phenomenal job this season and I told them that,” Ulrey said.
The Indians finished 0-10, 0-7 in the KMAC.
Seniors Mason Mollohan, Brandon Strickland, Luke Speck, Nathen Weaver, Lane Carpenter, Tristin Seitz and Garrett Casto played their final game.
“Win-wise, it didn’t show. But we have gotten better from last year to this year. We are such a better team even from two-a-days until now,” Ulrey said.
Mistakes and turnovers hurt Mount Gilead once again in a game played in cold, wet conditions.
Tim Plumley’s squad took advantage as it won its final two games to finish 2-8 overall, 2-5 in the league.
“It was nice to finish the season on a positive note. It gives the kids something to build on for next year,” he said.
“We are optimistic about the future at Cardington. We have good kids; we really do. And we’re leaning how to fight through the whole game.”
Mason Goers, who entered the game with 1,285 yards and 11 TDs, got off to a slow start with just 34 yards on 11 carries in the first half. The junior finished with 157 yards and 3 scores.
His 46-yard run erased MG’s 16-14 lead midway through the third quarter. He added a 25-yard run in the fourth quarter.
After a scoreless first quarter, Goers’ 2-yard run and Brandon Steckel’s kick put the visitors up 7-0.
Steckel’s 40-yard interception return and XP kick made it a 14-8 halftime advantage.
Mollohan caught a 9-yard scoring pass from junior QB Nathan Rogers. Weaver ran in the conversion.
A Cardington fumble was recovered by Aaron Baer, leading to Mollohan’s second score from 12 yards. Brady Mermann’s run made it a 16-14 Indians lead with 8:00 left in the third period.
Trey Brininger caught 2 passes for 37 yards and added another 24 yards rushing.
“We used him at quarterback to mix things up,” Plumley said. “He’s such a good athlete.”
Freshman Nate Hickman played most of the game there, throwing for 44 yards and adding 28 on the ground.
“We have a lot of skill players returning,” Plumley said.
Cardington graduates just six seniors. Steckel, one of those, added a 20-yard field goal.
Junior Nico Wade added an interception.
Despite playing several teams close this season, the Indians couldn’t manage a victory.
“We’ve got to take the next step,” Ulrey said. “Now we need to finish. People want gratification instantly. Those are growing pains in a program and a mental thing.”