NORTH LEWISBURG – Mechanicsburg was all over Triad from the opening snap and spoiled homecoming for the Cardinals with a 49-0 victory on Friday in OHC action.
The Indians scored on the first play from scrimmage – a 60-yard pass from Kaleb Romero to Alex Rhine – and it was all M’burg from there.
Dustin Knapp scored on a 23-yard run, Romero scored on a 34-yard run, the Indians blocked a punt for a touchdown and Knapp scored again from a yard out to make it 34-0 in the first quarter.
Triad had trouble on special teams all night long, with a snap going over the punter’s head to set up Knapp’s second touchdown from the 1-yard line, in addition to the blocked punt. There were also two whiffed kicks that resulted in terrible field position and another snap that flew high and into the end zone for a safety.
“Very first play, blown assignment. That’s not what you want to see,” Triad Coach Joe Cardinal said. “A lot of self-inflicted wounds. They’re the better team, they’re ranked for a reason. But you can’t self-inflict wounds against a team like that. You have to play perfect.”
In addition to the safety, Mechanicsburg scored when Romero threw his second and third touchdown passes, both 3-yard strikes to Joey Mascadri and Tyler Wetzel.
The backups came in after that for Mechanicsburg with more than seven minutes left and took the Indians into the dressing room up 49-0.
“I saw exactly what I wanted to see from my older kids tonight. They came in and they executed pretty well,” MHS Coach Kurt Forrest said. “They had some intensity, some emotion and some soul. I thought we started to develop some personality tonight.”
In the second half, the running clock made time fly while the teams traded blows. Alex Rhine intercepted a pass on the right side and when Triad moved the ball with a nice throw and catch in the third quarter, Mechanicsburg forced a fumble and pounced on it to stop the drive. In the fourth, the Cardinals pushed the ball inside the 10 before coughing it up again inside of four minutes.
“Good things happen to those who play hard,” Forrest said. “When those opportunities present themselves, you have to pounce on it.”
Mechanicsburg (5-0) hosts West Liberty-Salem next week, while Triad (0-5) goes on the road to Cedarville.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.