Hoover 41 - District of Columbia Dunbar 22
August 23, 2008
Vikings roll on both sides of ball
Tyler Corcoran, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON Fans from all over, including Dunbar alum and Browns star Joshua Cribbs, found their way to North Canton Memorial Stadium to watch the Hoover High School football team in its season opener Friday night.
Vikings fans in attendance went home happy as Hoover defeated the visiting Washington (D.C.) Dunbar Crimson Tide, 41-22.
Trailing early, the Vikings were quick to recover and dominated both sides of the ball with their strong defensive presence and accurate passing game. However, their offensive success was fueled by their overpowering running game in the second quarter.
“Dunbar has a great program,” said Hoover head coach Don Hertler.
“We knew we had to execute tonight and while we did some good things and some bad things, both sides of our game had great rhythm.”
Hoover’s defense came out strong on the first possession.
Defensive back Joe Cerreta intercepted a third-down pass and returned it to the Crimson Tide 4 to set up Hoover’s first score.
Dunbar answered back three series later when Vernard Roberts scored on a 19-yard run. The Crimson Tide added the 2-point conversion for an 8-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Momentum stayed with Dunbar, which moved the ball early in the second quarter before Hoover grabbed its second interception.
The following offensive series, Hoover gave the ball to its talented junior running back Erick Howard.
The Vikings never looked back.
“Howard ran hard for us tonight,” said Coach Hertler. “His determination really showed.”
Howard, who finished with 185 yards on 22 carries, charged the Hoover offense in the second quarter by breaking tackles on several impressive runs. That sparked the Vikings to a 20-point second quarter and a 27-8 lead.
“We really lost our focus in the second half and played average,” Hertler said. “We can’t ever lose our intensity like that.”
Even with the “average” second half, Cerreta controlled the young Hoover offense in his debut as the Viking quarterback. He went 12-of-18 passing for 141 passing yards and a touchdown.
While the win feels good, Hertler admits his team has a lot to work on. “This game let me know we are a young team with a long way to go to be a solid team.”