Louisville 50 - Hoover 7
September 3, 2011
Louisville scores early, often in rout of Hoover
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
One week after celebrating too much in the end zone, the Louisville Leopards hardly celebrated at all. They just spent most of Friday night getting to the end zone in a rout of the Hoover High School football team.
The Leopards pasted their rival, 50-7, and made sure they left plenty of room for error, unlike last week when they lost to Walsh Jesuit on a last-second field goal. Needless to say, it’s been a long week waiting to wipe the taste of last week’s loss out of their mouths when a penalty for excessive celebration after a score helped set up Walsh for its winning kick.
“This was one of the most fired up Louisville teams I’ve seen in 12 years,” Leopards head coach John DeMarco said. “They left all their emotions on the field.”
Hoover never really had a chance. Before five minutes even ticked off the clock, the Vikings gave up a pick-six, lost a fumble in their own territory and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff after being down, 14-0.
“You can’t dig a hole like that against a hungry, good Louisville team,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “They had a tough week last week. Give them all the credit in the world. They beat us from A to Z.”
DeMarco does not try to hide the fact that his offense revolves around quarterback Chad Neff and running back Lucas Poyser. He also didn’t try to hide the fact his team left at least 20 points on the field against Walsh.
“We were hungry,” Poyser said. “Coach always says the biggest improvement in a season is from Week 1 to 2. … Most of us come from brothers who played here on great teams. They’re always in our ear. Leopard football is a little bit different in this town. It’s huge and when you get momentum like we did early, the atmosphere here is insane.
“You keep playing hard and the other team knows it’s going to be a long night.”
A very long night. The first quarter took 45 minutes. Hoover trainers went through nearly 200 gallons of water in the humid conditions.
The long night started early.
It was Poyser — all 5-foot-8, 170 pounds of him — who lined up for one play on defense. He was at nose guard, slipped through the gap and hit Hoover quarterback Austin Appleby as he was throwing on the third play of the game.
Little went right for Hoover at the start. After a false start on the first play of the game, a shotgun snap went past Appleby for a 19-yard loss to the Hoover 1 on second down. That set up third-and-34. Appleby took a three-step drop and lobbed a pass down the right sideline. However, Poyser hit him as he threw the ball and that made for an easy pick-six by Adam Nees. His 18-yard return made it 7-0 Leopards.
Two plays from scrimmage later, Appleby fired a bullet to Austin Feinberg for 18 yards. The ball was poked loose and Dillon Stertzbach recovered and Neff went to work.
On fourth-and-3 from the Hoover 44, Neff ran over or carried defenders for 9 yards. Three plays later he found a wide-open Billy Lairson for a 19-yard TD pass.
Keeping with the theme, Hoover fumbled the ensuing kickoff. That set up Louisville at the 31-yard line. Lucas Poyser’s 1-yard TD run put the shine on the start of a rout, with a 21-0 Leopards lead.
Poyser finished with a career-high 206 yards on 20 carries and set another personal best with four touchdowns. Neff threw for 142 yards and ran for 75 more.
“Obviously we like to get 16 (Neff) and 34 (Poyser) with the ball in their hands a much as possible and spread it around after that,” DeMarco said.
The only thing that went well for Hoover came in the first half. A Louisville fumble set the Vikings up with their best field position at their own 42. On second down, Appleby was patient with a screen pass to Xavier Hogan and Hogan slipped down the left sideline for a 58-yard TD to make it 21-7.