MENTOR, OH- Lake Catholic and Cardinal Mooney, both steeped in tradition, met for their season opener, displaying great promise in their clash. Despite their efforts, the Lake Catholic Cougars, led by junior quarterback Frankie Trinetti, narrowly fell short with a score of 29-26 against the Cardinals at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium.

A pivotal moment came in the fourth quarter as Mooney seized the lead after capitalizing on a fumble recovery. In the dying seconds, the Cardinals converted a crucial fourth down and seven to secure their hard-earned victory.

The opening half showcased Trinetti’s skills and the offensive weapons at Lake Catholic’s disposal. Trinetti’s impressive performance saw him complete 14 out of 22 pass attempts, accumulating 239 yards and securing four touchdowns.

After Mooney surged ahead with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the Cougars and Trinetti rallied admirably. Responding to Mooney’s initial touchdown drive, Ashton O’Brien led the Cardinals 80 yards in 11 plays, capping the drive with a 5-yard keeper touchdown. A successful PAT gave Mooney a 7-0 lead.

Despite a minor setback—a Trinetti interception returned for a 45-yard touchdown by Mooney’s Rocco Gentile—the Cougars displayed resilience. Trinetti orchestrated a gritty 72-yard, nine-play drive, connecting with junior tight end Cross Nimmo for a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars on the scoreboard. However, the PAT attempt fell short.

The Cougars continued to battle, knotting the score at 14-14 midway through the second quarter with a methodical 83-yard drive culminating in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Trinetti to Nimmo, followed by a successful 2-point conversion.

The seesaw nature of the game persisted as Mooney responded with an eight-play, 72-yard drive. A 36-yard touchdown pass from O’Brien to Carlos Gomez, along with a successful PAT, put the Cardinals back in front, 21-14.

The final moments of the first half were action-packed for the Cougars, as Trinetti orchestrated two touchdowns in quick succession. The first came from a 77-yard touchdown pass to DJ Sears, pulling them within one point. Subsequently, with just 10 seconds left, Trinetti found Nimmo for a 53-yard touchdown pass, allowing the Cougars to enter halftime leading 26-20, despite missed PAT attempts.

Both defenses tightened up in the scoreless third quarter, setting the stage for a decisive fourth. Mooney took advantage of a Lake Catholic fumble, resulting in a 29-yard touchdown pass from O’Brien to Tyon Flowers, followed by a successful 2-point conversion, propelling Mooney to a 29-26 lead.

In the waning moments of the game, Mooney’s defense secured a pivotal interception, but Lake Catholic countered with a clutch interception by Ace Peterlin. However, Mooney’s defense held strong, preventing a late-game comeback and sealing their 29-26 triumph.