Hoover 35 - Canton Central Catholic 12
August 26, 2006
Hoover swamps Central
Joe Frollo Jr., Canton Repository
PERRY TWP. – Orange helmets flew around Central Catholic Stadium all Friday night.
Big plays followed.
Behind two special-teams touchdowns and an interception return for a score, North Canton Hoover opened the high school football season with a 35-12 win over Central Catholic.
It took the Vikings just 12 seconds to get on the scoreboard, as Seth Allman returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a 7-0 lead.
The Crusaders fumbled their first snap, handing Hoover the ball at the Central 13. Kevin Dahl took it in from 2 yards out to give Hoover a 14-0 advantage before much of the crowd had found their seats.
Dahl, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior, said the Vikings look to make a habit of big plays.
“We were able to come out and play the type of game we want, which is quick and fast and always on the go,” said Dahl, who added two tackles for loss and a blocked punt. “This is one of the fastest defensive units we’ve had in a while, and everyone can make plays.”
Hoover made it 21-0 as Jared Wackerly found Matt Wakutchik behind the Central defense for a 32-yard TD pass. They nearly hooked up again later on a 47-yard score, but the ball was just overthrown. Wackerly was 5-of-10 for 116 yards.
Hoover’s offense collected just 197 yards and the two TDs, but the Vikings found other ways to continue scoring.
Neil Michaels fell on the blocked punt by Dahl in the end zone, and Allman returned an interception 39 yards for another score. Fumble recoveries by James Georgiades and Kyle Hennis also ended Crusader drives.
“Special teams, turnovers, those are things you can practice, and we do,” said Allman, a 5-11, 175-pound senior.
Of his two returns for scores, he added, “I got some great blocking, saw the opening and was able to get to the end zone both times.”
Central Catholic, meanwhile, was churning out yards on the ground. Junior tailback Max Colaner had 104 yards and a late score on 15 carries, while junior fullback Marcello Natale added 91 yards on 15 carries.
The problem came every time junior QB Joey Rhodes dropped back as he was swarmed by Vikings before he could set his feet. Rhodes finished 5-for-15 for 55 yards and added Central’s other late TD on an 8-yard run.
“Boy, they’re quick. Really quick,” Central Catholic head coach Lowell Klinefelter said. “North Canton came here ready to play, and I’m embarrassed we didn’t look ready to play.”
The Crusaders struggled with bad snaps, missed assignments and muffed punts, and the Vikings seemed to take advantage of every one.
Hoover faced just one fourth down during the first three quarters —and Dahl scored his touchdown on that play.
“This was a good lesson for us,” Klinefelter said. “It shows how we need to improve a lot and come out a lot better in the future.”
Still, Hertler said he saw plenty to address when the team goes over the film. The Vikings were outgained on the ground 210-81 and lost three fumbles. Central took the ball inside the Hoover 35 five times before scoring.
“We are glad to be 1-0, but we need to do a better job blocking and get off blocks,” Hertler said. “We need to do a better job tackling.
“So far, we’ve shown we can make big plays, but we need to bring those 11 individuals making plays into one unit. That’s when we’ll be a good team.”
Hoover senior captain, Jordan Bucar left the game in the second half with a neck sprain. Bucar is a three-year starter at LB and led the Vikings in tackles as a junior with 114.