Louisville 37 - Hoover 21
September 11, 2004
Louisville stays undefeated, drops Hoover to 0-3 with win
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON — 2004 Hoover vs Louisville Game Summary.
A tree pulled the plug on the power in North Canton on Friday.
Then the Louisville High School football team pulled the plug on North Canton Hoover.
After a first quarter that was played in a fading sunset because of a power outage in North Canton, the Leopards and Vikings took turns lighting each other up in the first half. The teams combined for 42 points and nearly 450 yards in two quarters.
A lightning rod hit Louisville and snapped the Leopards into shape just in time to roll Hoover, 37-21, Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
“It was like a WAC Conference game in the first half with all the offense,” Leopards head coach Paul Farrah said. “No one punted. You couldn’t see. If you were a fan, you had to love the first half.”
If you’re a player, you had to love the second half. The Leopards out-hit North Canton in the second half and sent a painful message.
Just because they run the shotgun spread offense doesn’t mean they can’t run the ball down a defense’s throat.
Louisville running back Aaron Scott finished with 176 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. Brian Whaley added 51 yards on nine carries and two TDs. Quarterback Mark Gulling finished with 135 yards through the air, a TD passing and one running.
“The biggest difference was our running backs and offensive line,” Farrah said. “They did a nice job blocking.”
“If people are going to put five or six guys in the box against us, we’re going to run the ball right at them,” Scott said. “My hogs on the line did such a great job blocking, even when (Hoover) did have eight guys in the box, we were still able to run it.”
That is because North Canton didn’t tackle very well. Louisville’s spread offense creates running lanes and forces a defense to be solid tacklers. Defenses will be hard-pressed to gang tackle this offense.
There was just a difference in mentality between the teams in the second half. Louisville took it to North Canton.
“They were more physical than us,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “That’s an issue we have. They have two strong running backs, and they run the ball hard. We knew that going in. I guess we’re just going to have work on our one-on-one tackling this week because we’re not a very good tackling team in space.”
The power outage didn’t delay the game or the electricity of either offense. A tree fell on a main power line in North Canton Friday afternoon and knocked out power to Memorial Stadium until 8:10.
The Vikings scored two of their three first-half TDs in the dark, and the third scoring drive started in the dark.
The move of quarterback Sean Kostelnik from quarterback to wide receiver seemed to get the offense going. North Canton went 51 yards in five plays to score the first TD. Running back Jordan Jeffords took a counter play off left tackle and cut back to the right for a 30-yard gain to the Louisville 10. Three plays later, Kostelnik lined up at running back and caught a swing pass from Foote for a 10-yard touchdown.
Louisville came back with sustained drive that covered 65 yards in 10 plays. The Leopards went to the air with Gulling and receivers Kyle Smith and Paul Aslanides, mixing the running game from their shotgun spread offense.
Scott accounted for 30 yards in that drive, and Gulling finished it when he broke away from a sack on second-and-11 and threw a strike to Aslanides for a 21-yard TD.
Both teams swapped scores throughout the first half. Hoover had a chance to take a lead into the locker room, but two fumbled snaps from the Louisville 1 backfired. On fourth-and-1, instead of kicking a field goal, the Vikings elected to go for the score. The snap was botched and time ran out.
“That was huge,” Farrah said. “Our kids went into the locker room with momentum, knowing we had stopped them. That gave us a lot of confidence in the second half.”
Louisville took the lead in the third quarter after a shotgun snap soared over Foote’s head and landed on the Hoover 3. Cory Hoover recovered for the Leopards. Kevin Bankovich drilled a 23-yard field goal for a 24-21 Louisville lead.
On Hoover’s next possession, defensive lineman Kyle Sankbeil drilled Foote just as he stepped into a pass. Foote wrenched in pain and didn’t return.
The message was sent.
“When you play North Canton, you know they’re going to hit,” Scott said. “They beat us 38-7 last year and we’ve had a whole year to think about that.”
At the end of the third, Kostelnik was back at quarterback and sacked at his 1. Hoover never recovered and punted from its end zone.
That set up Louisville at the Viking 36. On fourth-and-2 from the 10, the Hoover defense bit on a fake to Whaley, and Gulling ran untouched into the end zone, making it 30-21.
Louisville kept hitting.
Farrah was impressed with how Sankbeil, John Lutton, Larry Hetrick, Hoover and Justyn Beadling played defense.
“Being physical was huge,” said Farrah, whose team was 0-3 at this point last year. “It’s a year later and our kids have experience and confidence. They know how to turn the switch on and play physical.”