Hoover 40 - Green 3
August 23, 2003
Hoover turns up defense in opener
Joe Frollo Jr., Canton Repository
Its offense stuck in neutral, Chad Coyle and the Hoover defense gave the Vikings a lift.
Coyle stepped in front of a Billy Cundiff pass midway through the second quarter and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Whether the Vikings came alive or Green went flat, it was all Hoover from that point on as the Vikings ran away with a 40-3 high school football victory Friday at Memorial Stadium.
On a day Hoover managed just seven first downs and got nearly a third of its 232 yards on one run, the defense forced five turnovers and added another interception return for a score in the season opener for both teams.
“The first game is always a tough one,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “To hold this team to a field goal with the skill players they have is outstanding.”
Green scored on Phil Dickey’s 30-yard field goal with 6:42 left in the first half. The Vikings had just 42 yards of offense on the night when they punted the ball back.
With Green driving again, Coyle seemed to run the route better than the Green receiver, then took off down the right sideline to start a 40-point run for the Vikings.
“We went over that play so many times in the scouting report, I knew it was coming,” Coyle said.
The senior cornerback didn’t know he had the end zone in sight until he reached midfield.
“Then I just kept running.”
The Vikings mishandled the extra-point snap, but a 17-yard touchdown pass from Sam Cerreta to Kyle Watts nine seconds before halftime gave the offense some momentum.
Hoover moved 47 yards on nine plays after taking over with 1:39 on the clock. Mike Wright scored the 2-point conversion to make it 14-3.
“Working that two-minute drill got us going,” Hertler said. “We needed to score there.”
Alex Ramsey danced his way down the left side for a 20-yard touchdown run with 7:04 left in the third quarter. He scored again three plays later, picking off an errant pass caused when Tom Santelle hit Cundiff during the throw and returning it 28 yards into the end zone.
“It snowballed,” Green head coach Elden McVicker said. “Our kids just got down on themselves.”
Ramsey started the game at running back, but finished the Bulldogs off from his linebacker position. The 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior had two sacks, the pick and was in on nearly a dozen tackles.
“We’ve got other backs that can run the ball,” said Ramsey, who finished with 44 yards on 10 carries. “Whatever I can do to make the team better, I’ll do it. If that means stepping up on defense, I’ll do it.”
Wright led all rushers with 90 yards on four carries, including a 73-yard touchdown in which he went untouched over the left side. Jordan Jeffers capped the scoring with a 1-yard TD run.
Chaz Keeney had 212 sacks for Hoover, and John Bertsch grabbed an early interception.
Kyle Watts caught five of Cerreta’s nine completions for 55 yards and nearly added a pair of sacks, getting to Cundiff too late for the takedowns but early enough to force incompletions.
Kyle McDermitt led Green with 82 carries on 19 yards. The rest of the Bulldogs lost 14 yards on 21 carries.
“We are not big,” Ramsey said, “but we are conditioned to go all four quarters. Whether it was first-game jitters early on or what, by the third quarter, we were pounding it.”