Hoover 20 - Boardman 9
September 27, 2008
Hoover turns up the ‘D’ against Boardman
Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON They have been out of the spotlight recently, primarily because of their star running back’s incredible tear.
Make no mistake, though. Hoover’s defensive players are putting on some prime-time performances, too. Even the Federal League’s most prolific offense got a taste of it Friday.
Two late interceptions highlighted a big night for the Vikings as they shut down high-powered Boardman, 20-9, in a high school football game at Memorial Stadium. The previously unbeaten Spartans came in averaging just more than 48.2 points and almost 469.6 yards a game. Hoover held them to 202 yards, including just 50 rushing.
“Our defense, we’re not the biggest around, but we’re quick,” senior linebacker Tim Hartzell said. “We play hard and get each other going.”
Hartzell made the biggest defensive play of the night just when Boardman was building some momentum late in the game.
Responding to a 10-yard touchdown run by Erick Howard that gave the Hoover a 13-9 lead, Boardman quickly reached midfield. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Vikings gave the Spartans a first down at the Hoover 35. They got as far as the 28.
Everything fell apart for Boardman after a false start call. Hartzell intercepted Spartans quarterback Rob Boyd and raced 53 yards to the Boardman 18.
Howard ran for a touchdown on the next play to make it 20-9 with just more than three minutes left.
“My coach was yelling at me the whole time, ‘Get flat, get flat,’ because he was looking to the trips, then throwing to the single back,” Hartzell said. “I kept going. Finally, he looked right at me, tossed it right there, and I picked it off.”
Hartzell’s pick was a relief for Vikings head coach Don Hertler Jr. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was whistled against him for going on the field and questioning the officials.
“All I wanted to do was ask the official why he called six penalties on us, and he flagged me,” Hertler said. “I didn’t know I couldn’t ask him a question, and I was very respectful when I asked him.
“Seniors gotta play like seniors. And Tim Hartzell broke on the ball, held on to it, and made a great play.”
Howard capped the night with another interception on Boardman’s final drive.
Last week, the Spartans (5-1, 2-1) rolled 63 points on Perry. Damien Jarrett rushed for 203 yards. Cameron Shaffer ran for 123.
Against Hoover, Jarrett and Shaffer were held to a combined 51 rushing yards. Both Boardman scores came after the Spartans faced short fields at the start of drives.
The way Hoover’s defense played does not surprise Hertler. The Vikings (5-1, 3-0) have given up just 16 points in three league games.
“Our defensive staff and kids have played very good defense all year,” Hertler said. “We don’t have a lot of all-county type guys. But they play well together and they’re playing really hard.
Howard, who rushed for 563 yards the previous two games, scored all three Hoover touchdowns and finished with 120 yards on the night.