Louisville 35 - Hoover 21
September 8, 2007
Louisville defense ices Hoover
Josh Weir, Canton Repository
LOUISVILLE Take its picture off the milk carton. No need to put up any fliers around town.
The Louisville High School football team’s defense was found Friday night.
The Leopards shut out North Canton Hoover in the second half of a 35-21 win at Louisville Stadium. After two disappointing performances, Louisville’s defense put the clamps on Stark County’s highest-scoring offense. The Leopards held the Vikings to 79 yards of offense in the last 24 minutes and gained the program’s 50th win against one of its oldest rivals.
“The first two weeks we made so many mistakes, but I saw our defense step up big in the second half,” said Louisville senior linebacker Clay Swigert, who also rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 175 yards. “This was Leopard football. This is how we’re going to play the rest of the year.”
They hope that prediction holds true with undefeated Northwest coming to town next week for a Northeastern Buckeye Conference game.
Five times Hoover (2-1) had the ball in Louisville territory in the second half. Five times the Vikings got nothing. Louisville was clinging to a 28-21 lead most of the time.
“The last two weeks they’ve put a lot of gray hairs on me,” Louisville coach Paul Farrah said, a week after a 35-34 loss to Lake.
Big plays have been Louisville’s problem the first two weeks. Nothing changed early. Brandon McQuiston and Kevin Dahl hauled in 29- and 58-yard TD passes from Jared Wackerly as both teams scored on their first two possessions.
The Leopards (2-1) weren’t able to breath easy until they turned Bobby Swigert’s juggling interception in the end zone into insurance. Six plays later, Neal Seaman hit Tyler Adkins on a 22-yard TD pass, and Louisville led, 35-21.
A number of Leopards played important part in the defensive uprising.
Defensive end Matt Schooley, who added a sack and at least one pass deflection, dropped Hoover’s Matt Wakulchik on a reverse for a 15-yard loss to snuff a drive. Swigert had an earlier interception and Brandon Mathie’s late pick all but sealed the game.
The biggest moment came late in the third quarter.
Jeff Meek’s 50-yard punt return had Hoover first-and-goal from Louisville’s 5.
After Erick Howard advanced to the 1 on first down, Louisville stopped the Vikings on three straight carries to get the ball back.
“They made plays in the second half. We didn’t,” Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr. said.
Louisville wasn’t too bad on offense either, gaining 501 yards. Seaman completed 19-of-27 passes for 206 yards and two TDs against one pick. Swigert had TD runs of 42 and 20 yards, while Marcus Poyser rushed for 67 yards and a score.
Adkins had seven catches for 75 yards, while Mathie added five grabs for 67 yards and a touchdown.
The Leopards were nearly perfect in the first half. But one mistake cost them. While trying to run out the clock, they fumbled and Greg Tischler recovered for Hoover at Louisville’s 24.
On fourth down, Dahl caught a TD pass, tying the score at 21 with 15 seconds left.
Louisville wasted no time getting the lead back on the first possession of the second half. Swigert went off-tackle on the left and ran 42 yards untouched for a 28-21 lead.
“We talked about that in the locker room, coming out and setting the tone,” Farrah said. “We told them, you hold them to one score in the second half, and we’ll get two.”