District 3A-6 rivals Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot squared off Friday night with the district championship on the line. The Cougars had a game plan so obvious that possibly the parking lot attendants were the only ones to miss it.
Demardre Patterson was going to get the ball - often. In fact, Patterson touched the ball on 72 percent of Mooney's offensive plays, rushing 37 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 35-10 victory.
Mooney had the first opportunity, driving the ball to the Vikings' 17-yard line before a holding penalty stalled the drive. Kicker Blake Young's 34-yard field goal sailed wide left.
Verot took over and managed to move to midfield where the Cougars' defense dug in forcing a punt. The first quarter ended scoreless.
The second quarter began with the Vikings establishing their own running game. Jimmy Dwyer carried the ball four straight times, advancing 39 yards to the Cougar 17-yard line, but the defense held again and Verot was forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Wes Cole.
That's when the Patterson show started. Starting at their own 34, Patterson handled the ball eight out of 10 plays and accounted for 59 of the 66 yards for their first scoring drive. Patterson went the final 10 yards through the middle and Young added the PAT for a 7-3 lead.
Vikings quarterback Quinn Farrell's ill advised pass across the middle went straight into the arms of defensive back Vince Sellers, woh returned the ball to the Verot 24. After three carries to the 4, Patterson found the end zone for a 14-3 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Mooney extended its lead to 21-3 when quarterback Reese Vita called his own number around the left end for a four-yard TD run.
A little trickery by Verot cut the lead to 21-10. Farrell found receiver Grant Suroski in the flat and Suroski in turn threw downfield behind the Cougars defense to Steve Brown for a 38-yard TD strike.
That was as close as the game got. After recovering the onside kick, the Cougars were held to two yards on the first two plays, but again it was Patterson delivering the knockout punch. The tailback took the handoff and went throughout the Viking defense for a 41-yard score.
Verot (5-3) rounds out their regular season at North Fort Myers next Friday knowing they earned a slot in the regional playoffs as district runner-up.
Mooney 0 14 7 14 - 35
Bishop Verot 0 3 0 7 - 10
BV - FG, Cole 34
CM - Patterson 10 run (Young kick)
CM - Patterson 4 run (Young kick)
CM - Patterson 41 run (Young kick)
BV - Brown 34 pass from Suroski (Cole kick)
CM - Sellers 5 run (Young kick)