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Hoover 30 - Canton McKinley 20

October 11, 2008

Hoover impressive in taking out McKinley

Chris Beaven, Canton Repository

A wide-open offense, a gambling defense — that’s not Hoover High School’s style.

A punishing ground game, a sneaky passing game and a strong defense — that sounds like the Hoover Vikings who came into Fawcett Stadium on Friday and grabbed hold of first place in the Federal League.

The Vikings pounded out a 30-20 win over the McKinley Bulldogs (5-3, 5-1) in front of 13,654, snapping the home team’s five-game winning streak. Hoover (7-1, 5-0) extended its winning streak to six games and owns first place in the league all to itself.

“It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game but we played extremely hard,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said in a familiar refrain.

Junior tailback Erick Howard led the offense with 188 rushing yards and three touchdowns on his way to 270 all-purpose yards on 44 touches.

“It all starts with the boys up front,” Howard said, referring to his offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage. “They got it going.”

Junior quarterback Brett Tulodzieski added 128 yards passing, all in the first half.

Then there was the defense. The Vikings came up with four turnovers, including three fumble recoveries. They also scored a safety on defense.

“We’re a real smart team, we listen well, we respond well and we fly to the ball,” senior linebacker Tim Hartzell said, crediting defensive coordinator Glen Cummings for the unit’s performance.

Hartzell led the way with two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Jake Mann and Tyler Mann also fell on McKinley fumbles. Howard came up with a nice third-quarter interception. Two-way lineman Dom Boyle added two sacks, the second one helping to close out the game.

“We just got to the ball and tackled well,” Hertler said.

The Vikings, aside from Howard, don’t overwhelm anyone with talent.

“But when we play hard, we’re halfway decent,” Hertler said.

Playing hard was no problem Friday. The Vikings knew first place in the league was on the line and played with that type of intensity nearly the entire game.

They took a 30-7 lead into the final 2 1/2 minutes before two McKinley touchdowns and two recovered onside kicks made things interesting.

The defense also wanted to atone for last week when Hoover had to outlast Fitch, 45-42 in double overtime.

“I was so upset with our performance last week, we all were,” Hartzell said. “We know what we can do when we focus and we play as well we can.”

McKinley was left to be upset with its performance Friday.

“We didn’t play well at all,” McKinley coach Rob Johnson said. “That falls into my lap.

I’ve got to do a significantly better job of coaching.”

Hoover controlled the ball much of the first half, but an odd first quarter ended with the Bulldogs leading, 7-2, despite running just four plays from scrimmage. Their first two offensive plays each resulted in scores — one each way.

Hoover’s defense smothered Monterae Williams in the end zone for a safety with 7:11 left in the quarter after a McKinley interception stopped a Viking drive.

Just over three minutes later, McKinley’s offense got the ball back. Williams again got the call. This time, he got loose around left end, eluding two defenders and taking off for a 73-yard TD run down the sideline.

Hoover cut its deficit to 7-5 on A.J. Sarbaugh’s 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter after a McKinley fumble. He later added a 42-yard field goal. (1)

Game Note: Hoover’s defense shut down the ground game of McKinley. McKinley had 87 rushing yards on 20 carries. Subtract the 73 yard TD run and you have an outstanding defensive effort by Hoover – 14 yards on 19 carries. (2)


(1) fridaynightohio.com

(2) Webmaster, hoovervikingsfootball.com