Hoover 38 - Louisville 7
September 6, 2003
Louisville falls to 0-3; Vikings still unbeaten
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
LOUISVILLE It didn’t look that bad at first. Then someone from North Canton Hoover yelled, and the avalanche fell from the top of the mountain and smothered Louisville.
Right about now, the Louisville High School team is tired of experiences and learning tough lessons and snowballs.
For the second straight week, the game got out of hand. This time, a North Canton Hoover football team on a roll kept trucking through the Leopards. Hoover rolled through Louisville on Friday night, 38-7, and the Vikings are off to a 3-0 start.
Hoover dominated from start to finish. The Vikings scored 28 points at halftime, and three of those touchdowns came at the expense of two Louisville turnovers and another happened thanks to a special teams gaffe.
“You know, it just kind of snowballed on us,” said Farrah, whose team is 0-3 for the first time since 1998. “They did to us exactly what they did to Green. They got off to a quick start, and you can tell we’re young in a couple of places.”
The Vikings had eight first-half possessions and took half of those to the end zone. Twice, North Canton victimized Louisville’s young outside linebackers by throwing touchdown passes in an empty flat area.
“They play the same defense as we play, and we saw some weaknesses we thought we could take advantage of,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “Their outside linebacker is aggressive.”
After winning four league titles, even Louisville has to reload.
As lopsided as the final score was, there was a time when this was close. Early in the second quarter it looked like Louisville was going to tie the game and gain momentum.
The house came tumbling down, and a young team won’t ignore negative aspects of a game and get back in it.
“We need something to happen that we gain confidence early on, and I thought it was going to happen,” Farrah said.
Instead the Leopards had the wind knocked out of them early in the second quarter. They were down 7-0, but driving for the tying score.
On second-and-10 from the North Canton 11, Louisville running back Dan Kolp broke off tackle and inside the Vikings 5. But he was hit hard and the ball popped loose before Alex Ramsey fell on it.
North Canton then went on a 10-play, 95-yard drive. Quarterback Sam Cerreta delivered a perfect pass to wide receiver Kyle Watts on a post route. The 29-yard pass converted a third-and-14 and put the ball at the Louisville 20.
Two plays later, Cerreta hit a wide open Chris Zaluski in the right flat, and he hit the end zone untouched to make it 14-0.
“That’s potentially a 14-point swing,” Hertler said. “I was happy for our kids and proud of them. After an emotional week last week, they were ready to go.”
The Louisville sideline appeared lifeless and deflated. In a matter of five minutes, Louisville went from looking to tie the game to trailing 14-0.
Just before the fumble, Louisville dropped what would have been a game-changing touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone.
“Those were two big plays,” Farrah said. “It felt like one minute it was 7-0, and the next time you look at the scoreboard, it’s 21-0. I give a lot of credit to our kids because they never quit.”
It would only get worse after the fumble.
On the next possession, the Leopards tried to punt. The snap was high and punter John Stallings did all he could to track down the ball and fall on it for a 20-yard loss.
The Vikings went for the jugular.
Hoover’s first play from scrimmage was a game-ender. Cerreta looked deep for Watts and found him breaking open. A perfectly placed pass fell into Watts’ hands, this time for a 36-yard TD. The rout was on.
Hoover started the game with a controlled 71-yard drive that took eight plays. The Vikings kept the ball on the ground and established control of the line. The battle in the trenches was never in question with Hoover’s Ronnie Gnau, Jon Andrews, Mark Rose, Matt Wiley and Nate Whiteman dominating. Ramsey, at running back, gained 40 yards on the game’s first three plays.
“Anytime you come in here, it’s going to be tough,” Hertler said. “Our offensive line needed to play better and did.”
Did they ever. The Vikings finished with nearly 400 yards of offense, and Hertler played a handful of fourth stringers late in the game.
Cerreta’s first pass third-and-14 from the Leopard 35 went for 15 yards and first down to Watts. Finally, Mike Wright took a handoff and bounced it around the left and outran the Louisville defense 18 yards to the end zone.
North Canton’s final score of the first half was set up by Louisville second interception. Nathan Logan picked off the pass at midfield and returned it 41 yards to the Louisville 8. One play later, Cerreta threw his third TD pass, against hitting Zaluski in the right flat.
“We’re going to find out how good we are in the coming weeks,” Hertler said.
North Canton plays Perry, GlenOak, McKinley and Fitch. If the Vikings are still standing on top of the mountain then, look out below.