Hoover 14 - Canton GlenOak 10
October 1, 2005
Hoover wins thriller
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON — Their raggedy Quad City CD with “The Train” on it has been lost.
The North Canton Hoover football team is pulling, not riding, the train.
In its place after Friday night’s 14-10 win over GlenOak was a Michael Jackson CD. Michael Jackson in a high school football locker room?
“Hey, I don’t care what they play. All I know is the music is playing this season. It didn’t play very often last year,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said.
The Vikings didn’t sing their way to Friday’s win that put them at a surprising 5-1. They ground their way to their fifth win of the season. This from a team that won a single game a year ago.
“Michael Jackson’s OK,” senior center Evan Merten said. “I guess whatever works is fine with me.”
Merten was on the field when running back Kevin Dahl — one of three sophomore starters — broke the biggest play of the game.
GlenOak had a tenuous 10-7 lead with 11:43 left in the game.
On second-and-6 from the Golden Eagle 26, Dahl took a pitch around left end. Tackle Caleb Cross threw the block that sprung Dahl to the GlenOak 5, where Dahl broke a tackle and dived into the end zone.
Dahl’s score gave the Vikings a 14-10 lead. He finished with 112 yards on 20 carries.
“I didn’t get to see much of it, but I saw the end of it, and Kevin’s effort got us going,” Merten said. “This gives us a huge boost of confidence.
I know everybody thought this would be the same 1-9 Hoover team, because we didn’t have seniors back. But everyone on this team is
coming together, and we’re bonding. It feels like we could beat anybody.”
GlenOak went on a 12-play drive that could have won the game and salvaged its season. Quarterback Mike Hartline completed a 23-yard BB to Brian McNew that took the Golden Eagles to the Hoover 31.
A few minutes later, GlenOak had a fourth-and-goal at the Vikings 5, and the Golden Eagles’ season teetered on the outcome.
Hartline rolled right and looked for McNew, who lined up on the right and ran a route to the left. It didn’t fool sophomore defensive back Matt Wakulchik, who stayed in his safety position and intercepted the pass in the end zone.
“Matt may be a pretty good player someday if he keeps working,” Hertler said.
The loss dropped GlenOak to 2-4, and the Golden Eagles remain winless in the Federal League at 0-3.
“This was a big game for us,” GlenOak head coach Jack Rose said. “The kid made a nice play in the end zone. It was a tough throw, but we got to get it in there.”
It wasn’t an offensive blockbuster. The two teams combined for about 200 total yards before the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know if we’re any good, but the kids played as hard as they could,” Hertler said. “We couldn’t make plays, we couldn’t get in a flow on offense and we couldn’t do anything except win.
“Our kids are playing with heart. Our lines kept plugging away and kept playing, and finally they made something happen.”
Hoover’s offense had 7 total yards with 40 seconds left in the first quarter. Then, quarterback Josh Nettleton hit Wakulchik for 56 yards to the GlenOak 3. Wakulchik ran behind the defenders on third-and-15 from the Hoover 41.
It took the Vikings three more plays to score. Dahl carried all three times, gaining a yard each time. He went over the top on third-and-goal to give the Vikings a 7-3 lead.
GlenOak’s offense had a difficult time getting going as well. Its only touchdown came thanks to the defense. Nettleton was sacked and fumbled the ball at his own 15. By the GlenOak recovered it, the ball had bounced to the Hoover 2, where Mike Torrence recovered. Hartline scored on the next play.
The 10-7 deficit didn’t phase Hoover.
Not when a group of high school boys are standing bare chested dancing to “Beat It” and “I’m Bad.”
Hoover just may be bad.
“I think it’s down to a four-game season for us,” Hertler said. “We’ve got a tough game at Fitch next week. We’ve had a lot of emotional games, and we’re still without four starters. We didn’t do much offensively tonight, but we won the game.”