Hoover 13 - Twinsburg 10Division 1 Regional Semifinal
November 9, 2008
Defense saves the day for Hoover in 13-10 win over Twinsburg
Win sets up rematch with GlenOak
Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
CANTON Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr. put the ball in the hands of his 2,000-yard back on fourth down when a field goal could have tied the game.
That option didn’t work the next time the Vikings were in Twinsburg territory.
But Hoover’s defense rose again to help save the season.
Erick Howard ran for two touchdowns and the Vikings came up with four turnovers in a 13-10 Division I regional semifinal win over the Tigers Saturday at Fawcett Stadium. Howard finished with 168 yards rushing and went over the 2,000 mark for the season as Hoover (11-1) earned a spot in next week’s championship game against Federal League rival GlenOak.
Howard eclipsed 2,000 yards on his second carry of the game. That carry wasn’t as big as the one he had on fourth-and-two from the Twinsburg 17. With Hoover down 10-7, he ground out 4 more yards to keep the drive alive.
“Coach asked us, ‘Do we have the attitude and the heart to get this 1 or 2 yards?'” Howard said. “We were like, ‘Yeah, let’s go for it.’ It’s all about your attitude in that case.”
Howard’s 2-yard touchdown run four plays later put the Vikings up for good.
Hertler initially sent his field goal unit out on fourth down before calling timeout and having a change of heart.
“If we can’t get 2 yards in that situation, we don’t deserve to move on,” Hertler said. “We put the ball in Erick’s hands, ran our best football play and got it done.”
It wasn’t that simple later.
A fumble recovery by Hoover’s Dom Boyle on the Tigers’ next drive gave the Vikings a chance to eat the final few minutes. Hoover faced third-and-one from the Twinsburg 37, but two straight handoffs to Howard netted minus-1 yard and a turnover on downs.
Twinsburg (9-3) reached only as far as the Hoover 49. Boyle’s sack on third down and Jake Mann’s interception on fourth-and-long closed out the Tigers.
Hoover’s Dan Nettleton and Jeff Meek also intercepted Twinsburg quarterback Cory Eden. Meek’s pick came in the end zone and set up Hoover’s game-winning drive.
“Our defense, they make the plays,” Hertler said. “They hung in there, kept it at 10, gave us a chance to get a game-winning drive and had that big stop in the fourth quarter.”
Hoover found yards hard to come by early. The Vikings went three-and-out on their first two drives and fumbled on their third.
The Tigers struck quickly on their second possession. Joe Hiller’s 49-yard run on a trap play set up Dion Johnson’s 2-yard touchdown run, which opened the scoring.
Nettleton’s interception stopped a promising Twinsburg drive at the Hoover 19-yard line. The Vikings drove 81 yards in 10 plays and tied the game at 7-7 on Howard’s 15-yard touchdown run and A.J. Sarbaugh’s extra point.
Matt Curwin kicked a 24-yard field goal with four seconds left in the first half to give Twinsburg a 10-7 lead. Thanks to Hoover’s defense, those were the final points of the night and the season for the Tigers.