The Youngstown Mooney High School football team showed Pickerington North why it went undefeated last season in winning the Division III state title as the Cardinals defeated the host Panthers 31-14 last Friday.

The Youngstown Mooney High School football team showed Pickerington North why it went undefeated last season in winning the Division III state title. The Cardinals defeated the host Panthers 31-14 on Friday.

Mooney went 15-0 last season and defeated DeSales 35-7 in the Division III title game.

In his first career start, senior quarterback Kevin McGuire led the Cardinals to scoring drives of 56, 75, 47 and 51 yards. He capped two of the drives with short touchdown runs.

North took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive. Darien Bryant caught a 40-yard scoring pas from Zach Olszewski to cap a nine-play, 79-yard drive.

North couldn't get much going offensively after that, gaining just 130 yards the rest of the game.

"The way we were able to swing the momentum after that first score was huge," Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. "We go down 7-0 on the road, and our guys did a good job of rallying and coming back."

The Panthers went to the air early and often as Olszewski completing five of six passes for 76 yards on the first drive and the Cardinals looked to be on their heels.

"We wanted to control the line of scrimmage and came out and did that," North coach Tom Phillips said. "But Mooney has a great offense and they controlled the ball and moved down the field."

Mooney scored 24 consecutive points and took a 24-7 lead when A. J. Fox kicked a 22-yard field goal with 4 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

North cut the lead to 24-14 when Olszewski ran in from 4 yards late in the third quarter, but Olszewski threw two interceptions after that.

Olszewski completed 14 of 24 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. Tony Taylor led the Panters with 18 yards rushing.

The Cardinals held the Panthers to just 76 yards rushing on 23 attempts, while amassing 302 yards rushing and 355 total yards.

Phillips knew how good Mooney was before the game and wasn't surprised by the Cardinals.

"They are the state champions and are nationally ranked," he said. "They have some good kids."

The Cardinals' Roosevelt Griffin led all rushers with 13 carries for 80 yards and one touchdown.

CARDINAL MOONEY 7 14 3 7 -- 31

PICKERINGTON NORTH 7 0 7 0 -- 14

PN--Bryant 40 pass from Olszewski (Ebert kick)

CM--McGuire 2 run (Fox kick)

CM--Leonelli 6 run (Fox kick)

CM--McGuire 4 run (Fox kick)

CM--Fox 22 FG

PN--Olszewski 4 run (Ebright kick)

CM--Griffin 3 run (Fox kick)