KENNESAW— Two weeks passed since Mount Paran last played a football game, but ironically on Friday night they probably could have gone without the second half.
Unfortunately one of the final plays in its 55-6 win over King’s Ridge at Steele Sewell Stadium hurt more than any time off.
Sebastian Moss, the Eagles’ speedy flanker, had to be helped off the field by trainers and quarterback Niko Vangarelli after awkwardly going down on his ankle on a kickoff return with just 2 minutes to play.
Moss, who caught touchdown passes of 79 and 19 yards to lead Mount Paran (2-0, 1-0 Region 6A) to a 48-0 halftime lead, was clearly distraught on the training bench as time ticked off the clock. Team handshakes were initially cordial, but choice words from both parties forced the postgame to go on in lieu of traditional midfield fellowship.
At least two Eagles coaches were not happy about how Moss was tackled. Frustrations also came from the bench of King’s Ridge (1-2, 0-1) in the wake of a sideline hit that left quarterback Braxton Chadwick limp.
Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan diffused tempers and was the first to check on Chadwick following the game. As for Moss, the Eagles will have to wait and see on the severity of his injury.
It was an emotional ending to a game that otherwise felt like a walk-through, and after the Eagles won 63-7 in their season opener they’ve yet to be tested.
King’s Ridge managed a late touchdown on a 8-yard touchdown run by tailback Matt Morris.
“We weren’t playing for a shutout,” Jordan said. “That second half was a great opportunity to get some other guys some reps, so the score didn’t matter to us.”
Their eager beginning was apparent, as Jordan elected for an onside-kick on the opening play of scrimmage. Parker Rostowsky recovered his own tricky hopper, setting up Vangarelli for a 17-yard opening touchdown run.
“We just saw that on film, that we’d be able to get that onside kick,” Jordan said. “Not common to start the game with it but it was great execution.”
Vangarelli finished 7 of 10 passing for 193 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 84 on 11 carries and two more scores. His third touchdown pass was a lesson in execution — a late throw that was nearly picked, but tipped and grabbed by Matthew Moore.
Moore also scored on a short run, while Sam Griffith-Tesch and Parker Dixon added touchdown runs in the rout.
The Eagles finished with 367 total yards — they likely would have had more if it wasn’t for average starting field position being on their scoring half for much of the game. Moss finished with 116 yards on four receptions and had a 31-yard punt return.
Jack Ryan Wingler added a 39-yard catch and linebacker Lincoln Broadnax intercepted Morris, who came in to spell Chadwick in the second half. Evan Warren added a sack for the Eagles.
King’s Ridge gained just 215 yards, with much coming at the end of both halves.
The Eagles play at Fellowship next week.