Mount Gilead tops Cardington in rivalry game


Indians move on to first ever playoff appearance

By Rob Hamilton - [email protected]



Mount Gilead quarterback Matthew Bland scrambles for yards in his team’s Friday night win over Cardington.

Mount Gilead quarterback Matthew Bland scrambles for yards in his team’s Friday night win over Cardington.


Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

Kalin Briggs sprints to the end zone after hauling in a Kaiden Beach pass for Cardington in action from Friday night.


Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

After topping visiting Cardington 44-13 in their rivalry game, Mount Gilead assured themselves of their first winning record since 2004.

The win improved MG to 6-4, 4-3 in the KMAC with more competition in their future. The Indians will travel to Worthington Christian to open the Division VI playoffs after finishing 11th in Region 23 of Division VI.

“These guys were in diapers the last time they had a winning season, so I’m awfully proud of them,” said Reid. “We were 6-4. Obviously, we didn’t win the conference title and we didn’t go undefeated, but we had a winning season and that’s a big building block for Mount Gilead football. And we’re in the playoffs next week, so I’m excited.”

Despite the 31-point margin of victory, the game was closely contested in the early going. Cardington had the opening possession and quickly got the ball in the end zone on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Kaiden Beach to Kalin Briggs. Compounding MG’s woes, they immediately fumbled the ball back to the Pirates to give their guests the ball on the Indian 13.

Mount Gilead’s defense would hold firm, though, and they would then tip a 38-yard field goal attempt by Austin Vails, allowing Matthew Bland to return the ball to the Pirate 40. Nine plays later, a one-yard dive by Bland put the ball in the end zone to bring the Indians within a 7-6 margin.

It would remain like that until the second quarter, when the Indians exploded offensively. Garrett George ran for a 54-yard touchdown with 8:52 to go in the half and Bland added a two-point conversion. After forcing a punt, MG then had a nine-play drive resulting in a two-yard score by Bland that was followed by a two-point run by Owen High.

Bland would then pick off a Pirate pass and then hit Logan High for 23 yards and Cam Vickers for a 12-yard touchdown. Another Bland pass, this time to Gabe Simpson, netted a two-point conversion and gave Mount Gilead a 30-7 lead, which they took into the half.

“It just didn’t roll our way when it needed to,” said Cardington coach Ryan Goetzman of his team’s fortunes in the game. “Just a couple bad penalties and a couple bad turnovers. You can’t take anything away from Mount Gilead. They put us in those situations. Tip your hats to them. I can’t say enough about what coach Reid has done over there.”

Reid felt the key for his team was simply settling down and not making mistakes.

“What I’m really proud of is we bounced back and finally got some things figured out,” he said. “It’s a big, big rivalry game and emotions are high. We got settled down a little bit. We just took control up front on offense and defense. One of the mistakes we made in the first half, we tried to make some plays where there wasn’t one. Once we settled down and took what they gave us, we did alright.”

Cardington tried to get back into the game in the third quarter. The Pirates recovered an onside kick to open the second half and rode the legs of Beach into the end zone. The senior quarterback had runs of 26 and 12 yards to set up his five-yard scoring run to bring his team within a 30-13 margin.

Goetzman couldn’t say enough about the efforts of his signal-caller, feeling he did a lot to keep his team in games this fall.

“Kaiden came off the field a couple times this year for injury, but it was never for a long period of time,” said the coach. “He’s a kid who battles, a warrior. He’s the reason we were in a lot of games this year. He made plays with his feet, he made plays with his arm. He did a great job tonight.”

Unfortunately for the Pirates, Mount Gilead wasn’t going to let them come back. The Indians proceeded to eat over five minutes off the clock in driving 88 yards in 13 plays before Bland took the ball in from three yards out. Bland added a two-point run to make it 38-13 with 3:14 to go in the third.

Logan High would then record an interception to set up a 64-yard touchdown run by Bland to provide the game’s final points early in the fourth.

Beach ran for 141 yards and passed for 80 more for Cardington, with Briggs finishing with three receptions for 37 of that total. Goetzman noted that his team will have a lot of good athletes returning, but added that they’ll have to put in the work — either in the weight room or by competing in other sports — to improve the team’s fortunes.

“I see a really good group of athletes coming through with a lot of ability,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of ‘want to be better’. You just got beat 44-13 in a rivalry game. How can you not want to get back to work? How can you not make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”

Both Bland and George ran for 177 yards to control the line of scrimmage. Bland also hit on 4-of-6 passes for 79 yards with Owen High catching two passes for 44. While Reid didn’t know who his team would be facing after the game was over, he was ready for whatever challenges Week 11 would bring.

“That’s right; we’ll play whoever they put on the schedule and we’ll get ready,” he said. “We’ll celebrate tonight and bring them in tomorrow to talk about the playoff game and go from there.”

Mount Gilead quarterback Matthew Bland scrambles for yards in his team’s Friday night win over Cardington.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/10/web1_matthewbland3-1.jpgMount Gilead quarterback Matthew Bland scrambles for yards in his team’s Friday night win over Cardington. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

Kalin Briggs sprints to the end zone after hauling in a Kaiden Beach pass for Cardington in action from Friday night.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/10/web1_kalinbriggs-1.jpgKalin Briggs sprints to the end zone after hauling in a Kaiden Beach pass for Cardington in action from Friday night. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel
Indians move on to first ever playoff appearance

By Rob Hamilton

[email protected]

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS