PLAINVILLE — These birds of a feather did not stick together.
No. 4-ranked Plainville saw to that.
In a battle of Cardinals, Plainville bolted to an early lead and never let up Friday night on the way to a 53-21 victory over Ell-Saline in the second round of the Class 1A football playoffs.
Plainville scored four first-quarter touchdowns and added a fifth in the first 30 seconds of the second before Ell-Saline got on the board. The host Cardinals finished with 438 yards total offense, 315 on the ground.
With the victory, Plainville improved to 9-1 and will travel to Inman next Friday for a quarterfinal game. Ell-Saline's season ended at 7-3.
Jared Casey rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries while quarterback Jordan Finnesy added 143 yards on seven attempts with three more scores for Plainville. Finnesy also was 7 of 9 passing for 118 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike to Cody Crawford in the second quarter.
Crawford also had a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown to cap a 26-point first quarter.
Ell-Saline finished with 191 yards total offense, all on the ground. Luke Parks led the Cardinals with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and quarterback TJ Morrical ran for 47 yards and a score.
Plainville needed exactly one minute to open the scoring on a 34-yard Finnesy run. Casey followed with a 5-yarder at the 6:34 mark and Finnesy ran 44 yards for another less than two minutes later.
After Casey opened the second-quarter scoring with a 15-yard run, Morrical found the end zone on a 30-yard carry for Ell-Saline with 8:08 left in the half. But Finnesy found Crawford for a score less than a minute later and Casey's 1-yard run at the 37-second mark made it 47-7 at the half.
A 48-yard Finnesy run with 8:40 left in the third quarter pushed the lead to 46 points and triggered a continuous running clock the rest of the way. Ell-Saline scored the game's final two touchdowns on a pair of 14-yard runs by Parks.