Louisville 35 - Hoover 29
September 10, 2005
Kuhn, Leopards leap to 3-0
Joe Frollo Jr., Canton Repository
LOUISVILLE — Nothing came easily for Louisville on Friday night.
Penalties and turnovers marred the first half. A late Hoover comeback nearly spoiled the end.
The Leopards kept clawing, though, holding on for a 35-29 high school football victory over the Vikings.
Louisville senior Drew Kuhn ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more and made the second of his interceptions 6 feet from the end zone to spoil Hoover’s last chance.
He also keyed a second-quarter drive that got the Louisville offense out of neutral and rolling for what seemed at one time an easy victory.
“Our defense had a couple of breakdowns, but we played hard all the way to the end,” said Kuhn, Louisville’s quarterback and safety who was pressed into cornerback duties as well. “We made the big plays when they mattered.”
Louisville (3-0) and Hoover (2-1) begin league play next week.
Hoover looked to take a 14-6 lead into halftime before Kuhn led a 10-play, 64-yard drive that tied the game 26 seconds before the break. Kuhn was 6-of-9 passing during the stretch, hitting Bill Poyser three times for 45 yards.
He capped it with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Smith in the back of the end zone. A Ben Schmucker pass to Mark Gulling off a reverse added the 2-point conversion.
A fumbled fair catch and a bad snap on a punt led to two first-half Josh Nettleton TD passes for the Vikings.
“I felt fortunate it was only 14-14 the way we played during the first half,” Louisville head coach Paul Farrah said. “But being able to throw on that series loosed up their defense and allowed us to run later on.”
Behind a renewed push from the offensive line, Louisville scored on its first drive after the break as Poyser found the seam, and Kuhn hit him for a 26-yard score.
After a Brian Whaley interception at the Hoover 32, Kuhn made it 27-14 by taking it in from the 3. The conversion failed.
The Leopards increased their lead to 35-14 early in the fourth quarter when Kuhn scored again, from 9 yards out. Kuhn then hit Schmucker for the 2-point conversion.
That score was set up when Kuhn stripped a Hoover receiver at the Leopards’ 30.
Both teams were running four- and five-wide receiver spread offenses, Louisville by design, Hoover by necessity.
The Leopards allowed just 14 rushing yards, forcing Nettleton to throw 50 times. The early practice paid off as Hoover rallied to make a game of it.
“Their front eight are so good, you’ve just got to run enough to keep them honest,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “We made some stands there in the fourth quarter. Our offense had great push our final three or four drives. Our guys made some great catches and throws. We’ve just got to do those things more often to be a good football team.”
With 6:36 left, Nettleton found Matt Wakulchik on a fade route from the 5 to start the comeback. A botched snap on the extra point turned out OK as Kyle Feinberg threw to Clay Benko for the conversion.
A failed on-side kick was followed by a Louisville three-and-out. Hoover took over at its 17 but moved quickly behind a 43-yard pump-and-go from Nettleton to Feinberg. The two hooked up again from 11 yards, making it 35-29 with 4:37 left.
Hoover recovered the on-side kick this time, but Clay Swigert’s interception gave Louisville the ball and a chance to run the clock.
The Vikings took over one last time at their 42 with 56 seconds to play. Louisville sophomore Marcus Poyser snuffed out a screen for an 8-yard loss before defensive holding and roughing the passer put Hoover at the Leopards’ 44 with 6 seconds to go.
Nettleton lifted one last try down the left, but Kuhn came down with the ball at the 2.
Kuhn finished 16-of-24 passing for 183 yards, the two TDs and one interception by Hoover’s Aaron Dodds. Bill Poyser caught nine passes for 96 yards, while Kuhn added 152 rushing yards.
Nettleton was 20-of-50 for 226 yards, numbers that included eight dropped balls. Feinberg caught nine passes for 134 yards and a score. Wakulchik had two touchdown grabs, while Benko had the other.
“I told the kids before that last play this is what two-a-days were all about,” Farrah said. “After that, our seniors kept our defense focused, and I didn’t have to say anything more.”
The Vikings are young on defense with only three seniors:
- DE Zac Cochenour, Sr. (returning starter)
- DT Ken Staudinger, Jr. (returning starter)
- NG Caleb Cross, Sr.
- DT James Georgiades, So.
- DE Kyle Robbins, Sr. (returning starter)
- OLB Scott Gnau, Jr.
- MLB Kevin Dahl, So.
- OLB Jordan Bucar, Jr. (returning starter)
- DB Seth Allman, Jr.
- DB Matt Wakulchik, So
- DB Aaron Dodds, Jr.
- DB Kyle Feinberg, Sr.