Friday, August 30, 2019
early deficit to win
at Rayen Stadium
By Dan Hiner
Years of waiting were complete. The pregame celebration was over and it was time for kickoff.
Chaney varsity football was back.
However, Zyere Rodgers spoiled the party, carrying Cardinal Mooney to a 13-6 win at Rayen Stadium on Thursday night.
A 33-yard run set up a 2-yard scoring run from Key-Shaun Davis for Chaney’s first touchdown after to the program’s dismantlement.
The Cowboys (0-1) had their way with Mooney in the first half on the defensive side of the ball. The D-line blew up run plays from Cardinals’ running back Dom Byrd and quarterback Pat Guerrieri.
That is until Byrd left the game with a left shoulder injury.
Rodgers carried the ball 25 times for 155 yards. He started picking up first down after first down.
“He’s a tough kid,” Rodgers said, referring to Byrd’s injury. “I was down, but I had to pick him back up and go in the game and do what I had to do as a secondary running back.”
The Mooney sophomore broke a 37-yard run with 35.4 seconds left in the first half to flip field position. Brian Philibin converted a 23-yard field goal as time expired on the half.
“[Philibin’s field goal] was big,” Rodgers said. “It was great for us. It helped us a lot coming into the locker room, knowing that we had to come out here and still finish this game, didn’t get ahead of ourself and didn’t celebrate until the game was over.”
In the second half, the Cardinals did what they do best: run the football.
After Guerrieri and Chaney quarterback Delshawn Petrosky traded interceptions, the Cardinals put together a 13-play drive that spanned nearly seven minutes. Philibin hit a 28-yard field goal to tie the game at 6.
The Cowboys’ next possession stalled and the Cardinals took over with 9:02 remaining. Mooney (1-0) again turned to Rodgers, who carried the ball eight times for 37 yards. Guerrieri capped the 12-play drive with a 2-yard QB sneak for the lead.
“We talked about it all week, you gotta be persistent,” Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. “You just gotta kinda keep to your game plan, be persistent, play good defense and keep churning and churning, flip field position and keep moving the ball.”
Petrosky completed 11 of 18 passes for 67 yards. He also ran for 31 yards on eight carries. Marshall Herron led the Cowboys with four rushing attempts for 33 yards.
The game didn’t just feature the return of Chaney football. It was a matchup of former teammates.
Fecko and Chaney coach Chris Amill played together at Mooney. Amill was an assistant on Fecko’s staff prior to joining East’s staff a couple years ago. Amill said coaching against Fecko reminded him of practice back in high school.
The Cowboys played in front of alumni and a packed stadium. For Amill, Chaney proved it can make some noise in 2019.
“You can see ... we’ll have a team that will be here to battle for 10 weeks and for the next how many years,” Amill said.
But will Amill and his staff use a close loss to Mooney as a building block?
“It’s not a moral victory. That’s not something I’m looking for,” Amill said. “I come out here and coach and play to win.”