Uniontown Lake 21 - Hoover 19
September 30, 2006
Streaks hold on
Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
LAKE TWP. – Lake head coach Jeff Durbin gathers his seniors for a picture in front of the scoreboard after the biggest home win each season.
When you consider what the Blue Streaks have gone through in recent weeks, you understand why Durbin and the players chose to take a group shot Friday.
Lake held off Hoover, 21-19, in a down-to-the-wire high school football game at Blue Streak Stadium. The win stopped a three-game-losing streak, all in the Federal League.
How the Blue Streaks lost made the streak more agonizing. McKinley scored with 20.2 seconds left to beat them. Last week, Jackson’s game-winning 69-yard touchdown run came on a play that began with just 1.1 seconds left.
“We’ve had a tough three weeks,” Durbin said.
“We knew we were a good football team, but we were still 2-3. We needed this one tonight against a good football team.
“I was proud of the way our kids played. I was proud of the way they responded. When Hoover made plays, we didn’t shut down…We kept coming.”
When the Vikings jumped to an early lead, Lake quarterback T.J. Viscuso helped lead his team on an 85-yard scoring drive that cut Hoover’s lead to a point.
When Hoover freshman Erik Howard cut Lake’s lead to a point with a 69-yard TD run midway through the third quarter, Viscuso and his teammates responded with another 85-yard scoring drive.
And when Hoover’s Kevin Dahl scored from a yard out with 36.7 seconds left to cut Lake’s lead to 21-19, the Blue Streaks defense prevented
overtime. Pressure on Vikings quarterback Jared Wackerly forced an incompletion on the 2-point conversion pass.
“We made a play when it counted there,” Durbin said.
Last week’s gut-wrenching loss at Jackson is a distant memory.
The Streaks now have legitimate playoff hopes.
“We knew it was a big week,” Viscuso said. “All week, we talked about how we had to overcome.
“We knew this was a big win to get us into playoff position. It was a good win.”
Wackerly put the Vikings (4-2, 1-2) in position to tie the game in the final two minutes. He completed 4-of-5 passes for 53 yards on a drive that started at the Hoover 23.
A big play by Lake’s defense was all that stood between the Vikings and overtime.
“Their good guys played better than our good guys most of the night,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler said. “Give them credit. They deserved to win.”
Josh McCutcheon rushed for a game-high 123 yards on 23 carries and a TD for the Blue Streaks (3-3, 1-3). Viscuso also played a key role. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior scored on a 27-yard run, ran 20 yards to set up McCutcheon’s touchdown and reached the end zone again from a yard out early in the fourth quarter.
Wackerly threw for 152 yards with one interception. Matt Wakulchik caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Wackerly and finished with eight catches for 104 yards. (1)
Coach Hertler won’t make any excuses for yesterday’s loss to Uniontown Lake. However, it’s worth mentioning that Hoover was without 8 starters. Seven of which play both ways.