Hoover 35 - Massillon Perry 7
September 18, 2009
Too much Howard as Hoover beats Perry
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON There aren’t many fool-proof defenses to stop Erick Howard. But there is one way to keep Ohio’s reigning Mr. Football in check.
Keep the Hoover High School senior running back off the field.
Perry didn’t do that Friday night. In fact, the Panthers gave Howard two extra possessions.
They might as well have taped his highlights, too.
Howard’s night ended early with 238 yards and three touchdowns as Hoover beat Perry, 35-7, at North Canton Memorial Stadium. Howard, who carried the ball 48 times the week before, carried it just 23 times and didn’t play in the fourth quarter of the Federal League opener for both teams.
He did enough damage before halftime.
“You can’t turn it over, and that’s something we’ve been going through,” said Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr., whose team didn’t turn it over Friday night. “We took
advantage of their turnovers and scored twice in the last six minutes of the first half to get it under control.”
Under control or put it away?
Howard had 201 yards and three touchdowns at the half for Hoover (3-1, 1-0). The Panthers (2-2, 0-1) turned the ball over twice in Hoover territory and was its own worst enemy — other than Howard — in the first two quarters.
“I’m not saying we would have, but possibly if we don’t turn it over, they weren’t stopping us on that first drive … maybe we have 12 more plays,” Panther head coach John “Spider” Miller said.
Perry moved the ball on the ground during its first drive to Hoover’s 35 after a 19-yard run by Caleb Laps. But the Hoover’s Tyler Mann recovered a fumbled on the next play, and the Vikings took over.
The Panthers had to know what was coming. Hoover gave the ball to Howard eight straight times for 66 yards, his final carry a 5-yard TD run.
After trading punts, Hoover came out far ahead in field position and took over its first possession of the second quarter at the Panther 44. Howard ran off tackle for 7 yards, then he broke off a counter run for 37 yards and a 14-0 lead.
Perry answered…sort of. The Panthers drove to the Hoover 15 thanks in large part to a 40-yard run by Laps On second-and-11 from the 16, Howard delivered a jolting blow to a receiver to jar the ball loose. Dan Nettleton recovered.
What came next? Howard right. Howard left. Howard up the middle.
He broke off a 47-yarder that would’ve went for 83 had Lepear Smith not tripped him up. Howard, a bit winded, still carried three straight times. On fourth-and-2 from the Perry 28 — after a Hoover timeout to give Howard some oxygen — he hit for 26 yards. On the next play, he scored from the 2.
Hoover got the ball back with 1:40 left before halftime and didn’t waste a second. Quarterback Brett Tulodzieski found Jordan Witt for a 34-yard screen pass. Tulodzieski faked a handoff to Howard, then threw a perfect 30-yard TD pass to Nettleton for a 28-0 lead.
The Vikings started the third quarter with a taste of what may be to come. Hoover mixed the run and pass for a methodical 77-yard TD drive. Tulodzieski completed two passes. Howard bit off chunks of 16, 17 and 10 yards. Tulodzieski kept the ball and scored from the 7 for a 35-0 lead.
It was a balanced attack. Tongue firmly in cheek, Hertler smiled.
“Yeah, I listened to the people who said I ran Erick too much last week,” Hertler said.
Apparently so did the Panther offense. They gave it back to the human highlight film.
Game Note: Erick Howard’s 238 rushing yards against Perry puts him unofficially at
698 rushing yards for the 2009 season and 4,656 rushing yards for his varsity high school career.