Hoover 35 - Uniontown Lake 20
September 25, 2009
Howard, Vikings feeling great in win over Lake
Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
LAKE TWP. Even the flu couldn’t slow Mr. Football. That won’t make the Lake Blue Streaks feel any better after what they went through Friday night.
Erick Howard put on a display in one half running backs not named Erick Howard only dream.
The Hoover High School senior rushed for 230 yards in the first half and scored four touchdowns in the second quarter alone in a 35-20 Federal League football victory over Lake at Blue Streak Stadium
Howard finished with 274 yards and five TDs on the night. That in itself is pretty amazing considering he had not practiced all week and was still feeling sick. The flu also kept him out of school for three days.
“Early in the first and second quarter I was feeling it, but the defense isn’t going to care how sick and tired you are,” Howard said. “I can’t let it stop me.”
Coach Don Hertler Jr. kept Howard on the sideline during the first few snaps of Hoover’s opening drive. Lake contained him for a few possessions after he came in.
By the second quarter, Howard was unstoppable.
“We blocked well, No. 1, and he really turned it up,” Hertler said. “He’s a pretty tough guy, and he got a lot of rest this week. Nothing he really does surprises me. He’s a difference-maker and makes everyone around him better.”
Howard scored on runs of 55, 37, 3, 4 and 7 yards. The fifth touchdown late in the third quarter gave the Vikings a 35-13 lead and sent some Lake fans heading for the exits.
There was reason for motivation after Hoover’s first drive. Howard fumbled his second carry inside the Blue Streaks 30-yard line.
“I felt like I had to make it up to my team,” Howard said.
The Vikings (4-1, 2-0) had their hands full for awhile. Their goal-line stand kept Lake from taking the lead in the first quarter.
The Blue Streaks (2-3, 1-2) struck quickly after Howard’s first score. Jim Luther’s 65-yard touchdown run on a hook-and-ladder cut Hoover’s lead to 7-6.
Everything fell apart for the Blue Streaks during the final four minutes of the first half.
Howard increased Hoover’s to 14-6 on just two runs totaling 62 yards. Vikings linebacker Ben Gardner recovered a fumble on the first play of Lake’s next possession. Hoover then needed only four plays to score again.
Howard’s fourth touchdown of the second quarter came with four seconds left and gave the Vikings a 28-6 halftime lead
“When we scored our touchdown, they kind of put it down our throats,” Blue Streaks coach Jeff Durbin said of the second quarter. “I just thought their offensive line and obviously Howard stepped up to a different level. When that happens, you gotta answer.”
Luther scored all three Blue Streaks touchdowns. He finished with a team-high 168 yards on 19 carries.