By BOB PADECKY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
LAYTONVILLE — In the battle of two unbeaten teams, Mendocino took control of the game early Friday night and rolled to a 46-28 victory over Laytonville in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
With the victory the 8-0 Cardinals won the NCL III title, their first league championship since 1953, according to Mendocino sports historian Paul McCarthy. Laytonville was looking for its first league championship since 1994.
This was the last game for both teams since no CIF postseason currently exists for eight-man teams. This is the second year of NCL III eight-man football.
“We wanted to bring back high school football to Mendocino,” said Cardinals head coach Theron Miller.
The difference maker in the game was Mendocino quarterback Reed Carter, who ran 34 times for 240 yards and four touchdowns.
Carter completed six of 10 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. In 2011 Mendocino beat Laytonville 63-18 and Carter scored seven touchdowns as he ran 15 times for 246 yards.
“There’s something about playing Laytonville,” Carter said, “that makes me play harder.”
Mendocino set the tone on the first play of the game when Cardinal defensive back Cody Lewis intercepted a pass thrown by Laytonville quarterback Russell Kaser.
Five plays later Carter threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Preston Salmans and the Cardinals never looked back, posting leads of 20-0, 32-6 and 40-14.
“They just outplayed us, fair and square,” said Kaser, who injured his throwing shoulder on the third play of the second half.
Laytonville only threw the ball five times in the game.
Check Sunday's Press Democrat or PD Preps on Saturday night for a Bob Padecky column about Friday's game.