One of the biggest factors behind the success of the Watterson High School football team's defense this season has been the ability of senior defensive back Dominic Clegg to intercept passes.

One of the biggest factors behind the success of the Watterson High School football team's defense this season has been the ability of senior defensive back Dominic Clegg to intercept passes.

He had two interceptions in the Eagles' 14-6 win Oct. 17 over Warren (Mich.) DeLaSalle and had two more last Friday in a 20-0 victory over St. Charles to give him nine for the season.

If he adds to that total in Watterson's regular-season finale Friday against visiting Youngs-town Mooney, he hopes to end the running joke about what happens after his interceptions.

"I got two interceptions (against DeLaSalle) but didn't get any return yards, and I really didn't get too many (against St. Charles)," Clegg said. "Our defense tries to make turnovers every single time the other team is on the field. We want to get off the ball as often as we can so our offense can win games."

Led by Clegg, the Eagles' defense has helped clinch a Division III, Region 10 playoff spot.

If Watterson beats Mooney, which is 9-0 and No. 1 in Division III, Region 9, it will wrap up the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason.

Obviously, that's a task easier said than done considering Watterson's recent history with the Cardinals.

Mooney is 4-1 all-time against the Eagles, with Watterson's last win in the series coming in 2005 (38-20) when the Cardinals were Division IV state runners-up.

The Eagles lost 32-14 in 2006 to Mooney and 28-0 in 2007 and 2008.

Mooney has won six state championships, with the most recent coming in 2006 in Division IV. The Cardinals also were state runners-up in '07 and were regional semifinalists on the way to a 9-3 finish last year.

Mooney beat DeSales 21-14 on Sept. 4 in the first meeting between the programs.

"We want to get another win before the playoffs," Clegg said. "Mooney's always a strong team and we'll have to come out and do what we always do and play the way we can."

Linebackers Matt Redfield and Michael Szaraz, and defensive back Nick Liimatta were all standouts last Friday when the Eagles beat Willoughby South 38-0 in their first shutout since Aug. 24, 2007. However, Mooney sports huge linemen and Division I-caliber athletes throughout the field.

Senior Braylon Heard rushed 22 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns last Friday when the Cardinals beat Youngstown Ursuline 27-22 to lock up one of the top two spots in Region 9.

Heard, who will play for West Virginia, has 16 touchdowns and about 1,000 yards rushing.

Quarterback Alex Zordich and running back Mark Brandenstein also are key for Mooney, which features seniors Eric Franklin (6-7, 270), Zach Larson (6-3, 290), Eric Vendemia (6-5, 267) and Mark Pelini (5-11, 267) on its offensive line.

With Larson on the defensive line and Brandenstein and John Stoops at linebacker, the Cardinals have held four of their last six opponents under 10 points.

"They're a great football team," coach Dan Bjelac said. "We've played them every year since 2004 and they've got some great, tremendous athletes and are a well-coached team."