Green 18 - Hoover 15
August 28, 2004
Hoover, Green to try again
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
GREEN — A lone North Canton Hoover fan sat in the bleachers. The man, oblivious to the heavy rains and lightning around him, sat for more than an hour. He was soaked.
But he hoped.
Bravery and hope have nothing over Mother Nature. His Vikings weren’t able to finish what they started Friday night at Green Memorial Stadium because of ever-present lightning that reached the area shortly before 8:30 p.m.
Instead, the high school football game will resume tonight at 7 at Green. Gates will open at 5:30, and Hoover will retain its 13-6 lead with 7:18 left in the second quarter.
This is the fourth year in a row Hoover has had a game postponed on a Friday and resumed the next day. The Vikings thought two-a-days ended last week. They’ve been replaced by two days for a game.
“It is frustrating because it isn’t easy to come back a second day and keep your head in the game,” North Canton head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “It’s the same for both teams. It’s not ideal … but you adjust and try to get ready.”
The kickoff, delayed 45 minutes, was at 7:45. Less than an hour later, both teams were in their locker rooms waiting for the lightning to stop.
It never did.
Nearly an hour after the game was postponed, lightning strikes still were prevalent. Ohio High School Athletic Association rules state a game may not resume until 30 minutes after the last lightning.
What is perhaps most frustrating for both teams is this game may not be decided by athletic skills.
Rather, it could be a test of mental toughness. Two years ago, Hoover led Green 13-0 with 7:57 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs never recovered and lost 13-3.
In that game, Green was driving for its first score of the game near the North Canton 20, but it stalled.
Green head coach Elden McVicker doesn’t want a repeat.
“It’s unfortunate this happened because it seemed like everybody was just getting in the flow,” he said. “I didn’t even see the first flash of lightning that suspended the game. It’s just frustrating. It’s tough enough to get kids up to play one game. Now you’ve got to get them ready to go for a second day in a row.”
Both teams displayed jitters in the first quarter. Hoover opened the game with a three-and-out series, and Green lost 11 yards in its first series. Hoover’s first drive stalled at its 39, and the next time the Vikings had the ball, they were across the 50 at the Green 47.
On the fifth play of the drive, Kyle Adams gained 10 yards to the Green 24. Two plays later, senior Jason Foote threw a rope to Joe Pope for a 22-yard touchdown. Rotating with Sean Kostelnik, Foote completed 2-of-3 passes for 33 yards.
Green came back with a nine-play drive that ended when Drew McDermitt scored from the 5, and it was 7-6 Hoover.
The Vikings went with old-fashioned power football. On third-and-8, Kostelnik wove a 20-yard gain to tight end Grant Keeney. Then it became the John Bertsch show. The bruising 6-foot, 210-pound junior running back carried the ball on 10 plays during the 13-play drive. He gained 52 yards and scored from a yard out with 8:24 left in the second quarter.
Both teams were rolling. The skies were, too.
After Green quarterback Billy Cundiff rolled out of a sack and ran for a 42-yard gain to the North Canton 38, the game was stopped.
The Bulldogs had momentum. McVicker has to find a way to bottle that momentum. It won’t be easy.
“But we have to do everything possible to carry that momentum over,” McVicker said. “We have to get it back and keep it.”
Hoover sophomore LB Jordan Bucar registered 8 tackles and 2 sacks in his first varsity game. “We’ll find a place for Bucar,” Hertler said. “He’s a playmaker.”