Cathedral unable to make playoffs despite victory
MOUNT OLIVE — Thomas Garrity and Conner Mire combined to throw three touchdown passes — all in the second quarter — as the Cathedral Green Wave defeated the Mount Olive Pirates 35-0 in MHSAA Division 4-1A action Friday night.
The win came with some disappointment, however, as Cathedral was left out of the MHSAA Class 1A playoffs. With Salem beating Sacred Heart and Hinds AHS beating Lumberton, Hind AHS earned the No. 3 seed out of Division 4-1A, and Lumberton secured the No. 4 seed.
“We went 8-4, so when you go 8-4 and you’re disappointed, that’s a good sign,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said. “Expectations are high, and they should be.”
Rushing also said he was pleased with the season, even if the Green Wave won’t keep playing.
“I feel like we did a good job coaching them up,” Rushing said. “We had 25 kids that were on the roster last year that didn’t dress out for various reasons, so we’re just going to get better the next year or two.”
Garrity completed four of five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The first one went for 49 yards to R.J. Givens at the 6:53 mark of the second quarter and the second went for 35 yards to Jardarius Anderson with 1:21 to go until halftime.
“We played well,” Rushing said. “We didn’t throw the ball as much. Overall, it was a good game for us. We got up early and let everybody play. We let the seniors get some playing time.”
The Garrity-to-Anderson touchdown gave Cathedral a 28-0 lead at the half. Mire was 9-for-16 passing for 62 yards, including a 7-yard TD pass to Anderson just 22 seconds into the second quarter.
Givens finished with four catches for 99 yards while Anderson had three receptions for 49 yards.
Cathedral’s special teams also got into the act when Ishmael Blackmon returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown. Nic Webb was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points.
The Green Wave’s defense limited Mount Olive to just six first downs and 121 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers. Ty Brown led the team in tackles with 11 and Rodney Hall had nine tackles.
“We were really pleased with how they played. They ran to the ball really well. They played good assignments,” Rushing said.
Rushing added that with this being an important game as far as Cathedral’s slim playoff hopes, he wanted to see his players come out focused and get out to an early lead. It took just over a quarter to do that, but once the Green Wave did, the Pirates didn’t have a chance.
And because of that big halftime lead, the seniors on the offensive line got to carry the ball some. Even Jake Smilo scored on a 10-yard run late in the ball game.
“It was just a way to reward them for what they’ve done the last four or five years,” Rushing said.
Cathedral finished the regular season at 8-4 overall and 6-3 in division play.