SARASOTA — The Out-of-Door Academy football team knew it would need to play a flawless game to be able to contend with Cardinal Mooney’s size and strength.
“To beat Cardinal Mooney, we’re going to have to be physical and come out ready to play,” running back AJ Strong said before the game. “We’re going to have to give it our all for four straight quarters, work hard and not be intimidated by their size.”
Coming off a resounding 37-7 victory over The First Academy, The Thunder carried their momentum into Friday’s matchup against Cardinal Mooney, scoring early in the first quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run by Strong. Quarterback Brian Ragone connected with Andrew McInnis for the two-point conversion, giving ODA an 8-0 advantage.
But that was as close as the Thunder would come to victory. The strength of the Cougars’ offensive line wore down the Thunder as Cardinal Mooney racked up more than 200 yards on the ground.
“The biggest difference in the game was the size of their line compared to ours,” ODA coach Brett Timmons said.
It was the first time ODA and Cardinal Mooney met on the gridiron and it more than likely won’t be the last. And although the outcome didn’t fall in favor of the Thunder, Timmons said he plans to use the result as a learning tool for the players.
“This game was a game that we used a barometer to see how physical we need to be heading into district play in a couple of weeks,” Timmons said.
ODA will return to action tomorrow as the team travels to First Baptist Academy in Naples. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
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