Canton McKinley 28 - Hoover 17
October 15, 2010
McKinley rallies in second half vs. Hoover
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
CANTON Halftime of the eighth game of the season isn’t exactly the right time to have an epiphany.
Then again, for the McKinley High School football team it’s better late than never.
North Canton Hoover — an inexperienced team that was perhaps a step too slow, an inch or two shy in areas and undermanned across the board — delivered a message at halftime to the talented Bulldogs.
Bring a lunch fellas.
McKinley dominated the second half for a 28-17 win in overcoming a 17-14 halftime deficit. The Vikings were held to 23 yards in the second half.
“I thought our boys did a great job against their men,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said.
Tough to argue, especially after the Vikings lost 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback Austin Appleby in the second quarter. Sophomore Domenic Iero (5-9, 165) filled in admirably.
It took the fire and brimstone of the halftime locker room to get the Bulldogs going. In the second half, defensive ends Steve Miller and Se’Von Pittman combined for four sacks.
“Because we’re McKinley, everybody wants to take us out,” Miller said. “We have to be ready at all times.”
“It should be that way,” McKinley head coach Ron Johnson said. “We should get everybody’s best, and we should do the same thing.”
It was a blessed start for the Pups. Hoover fumbled the opening kickoff and Anthony Reinhard recovered at the Hoover 28 for the Bulldogs. Then, an underthrown pass that should have been a Hoover interception was instead tipped. The tipped ball found its way into Taron Montgomery’s hands inside the 5. On the next play, Kyle Ohradzansky went in on a keeper for a 7-0 lead.
Hoover didn’t panic. Instead, Hertler paged to the back of the playbook and called a halfback pass with his backup quarterback. Iero took a handoff from Appleby and threw a perfect 71-yard TD pass to Stephen Denisssoff to tie the game.
“It would have been nice to use that out of the gate and go up 7-0,” Hertler said. “Instead, it was good to answer a turnover and quick score with a quick score.”
Elijah Farrakhan capped an eight-play drive when he scored from the 9 for a 14-7 lead. Farrakhan broke off a 16-yard run before that, and Malcolm Robinson slipped a tackle on a short pass to turn that into a 23-yard gain to get the ball inside the 10.
The Vikings answered on the strong right arm of Appleby. He completed 5 of 6 passes (the one incompletion was a drop) for 59 yards. His biggest pass was a man’s throw.
On fourth-and-19 from the McKinley 24, Appleby whizzed a ball to Joey Housos, who ran a skinny post. That 21-yard gain took it to the McKinley 3, and Bobby Leper tied the game on the next play.
Hoover forced a stop and took over at its own 15. Then, the Vikings went on a 21-play drive that started with 8:37 left in the first half. It ended when junior Ryan Sarbaugh drilled a 41-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 17-14 lead with 12 seconds left before halftime.
It came at a cost.
Appleby was hurt when he ran for 11 yards for a first down near midfield.
“He was off to a great start,” Hertler said. “Dom came in and did a great job. We didn’t give him time to throw in the second half.”
Iero was knocked down most of the 12 times he threw in the second half.
“We wanted to get after him,” Miller said.
Starting at his own 38, Ohradzansky completed a short curl pass to Zach Sweat, who slipped a tackle and turned it into a 20-yard gain. On fourth-and-2, Farrakhan took a pitch around left end and got a tremendous block from Miller, who lifted his man off the ground. Two plays later, Farrakhan took another pitch, broke a tackle inside the 10, and scored from 17 yards out for a 21-17 McKinley lead.
McKinley got some breathing room in the fourth quarter. Hoover’s offense — lining up offside twice and taking a delay of game in the same possession — stalled. The Pups pounced. Farrakhan scored on a 10-yard run with 5:12 left in the game to seal it.
Iero and Appleby combined for 17-of-32 and 211 yards, but Hoover had just 10 rushing yards. Ohradzansky completed 18 of 23 passes for 248 yards. Farrakhan finished with 91 yards.
Still, the Pups weren’t happy.
“I’m not happy with the way we coached and I’m not happy with the way we played in the first half,” Johnson said. “I’m happy with the way we responded in both aspects in the second half.”