The Cardinal Mooney High football team asked Lakewood Ranch High to match its elite athleticism.
The Mustangs had no answer.
In a game played at Cardinal Mooney Sept. 1, the Cougars (2-0) used their size, strength and speed advantage to wear down the Mustangs (0-2) and walk away with a 41-6 win.
Mooney senior quarterback Michael Valentino twice found junior receiver/defensive back Chris McCorkle for touchdowns, the longest one for 25 yards. Valentino also ran for a goal-line touchdown in the third quarter. The Cougars started their scoring with a defensive touchdown, as senior linebacker Jacob Brown recovered a Lakewood Ranch fumble and returned it 50 yards for a score.
The Cougars' offense spent the game spreading the ball among their abundance of weapons, including McCorkle, who has several NCAA Division I offers; senior defensive back/wide receiver Teddy Foster, a University of Florida commit; senior receiver Zy'marion Lang, a University of South Carolina commit; and senior running back Carson Beach, who holds offers from the University of Tennessee among other schools.
Mooney Head Coach Jared Clark said there is no bickering between his team's elite athletes when it comes to who gets the ball: they all just want to win.
"They're great teammates," Clark said. "They support the other guys. They just want us to be successful. As long as we're moving the ball, they're fine. They understand."
For a second, it appeared Lakewood Ranch could make it a contest. Down 13-0 in the second quarter, senior Mustangs quarterback Sebastian Mejia found junior receiver Jaron Fields for a 20-yard touchdown that quieted the Mooney crowd.
But Lakewood Ranch missed the extra point, which cooled some of the excitement. Mooney would soon strike again: A red zone touchdown pass from Valentino to McCorkle gave Mooney a 20-6 lead, which it took into halftime. The second half was all Mooney, as the Cougars outscored the Mustangs 21-0 and triggered a running clock with 8:06 left in the fourth quarter.
"We've got a lot to work on," Lakewood Ranch High Head Coach Scott Paravicini said. "One thing about our kids is they work hard. They continued to fight and that's a good thing for us."
Mooney brought in sophomore quarterback Devin Mignery in the fourth quarter. Mignery led one scoring drive capped by a goal-line touchdown run.
Mooney will next host Evangelical Christian (2-0) at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 while Lakewood Ranch will stay on the road against rival Braden River High (1-0) at 7 p.m. Sept. 8.