Hoover 38 - Massillon Perry 20
September 17, 2011
Appleby leads Hoover past Perry
David Harpster, Massillon Independent
NORTH CANTON Hoover’s Austin Appleby didn’t put up video-game passing numbers in Friday’s Federal League opener against Perry.
The senior Purdue recruit was, however, ruthlessly efficient when he needed to be.
Making clutch throws all night deep in Perry territory, Appleby tossed four touchdown passes to help lead the Vikings to a 38-20 win over the Panthers in front of about 6,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Appleby finished 14-of-19 for 123 yards, but it was when he completed his passes that mattered most. His two first-half scoring throws to Austin Feinberg and Brandon Strausser came on fourth-down plays inside Perry’s 10.
Appleby added a pair of short second-half scoring tosses, both on third down, to Stephen Denissoff and Feinberg, to help Hoover overcome a 20-14 halftime deficit.
“We’re not talented enough anywhere or experienced enough to just drop back and throw the football,” Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “We need to run the ball well and be balanced to have some success.
“We protected on all those touchdown plays, we made good throws and we made good catches.”
Sophomore Alex Welsh gave the Vikings a ground threat by rushing for 130 yards on 26 carries.
“They ran the ball successfully all night,” Perry coach Keith Boedicker said after his team fell to 2-2. “They kicked our defensive line’s butts all night … we got pushed around up front, and that can’t happen.
“Then we couldn’t get a stop when we needed it when they were deep in our territory.”
Perry’s Mitch Wheeler hauled in a 20-yard scoring pass from Adron Bealer with just 6 seconds left in the half to send Perry to intermission leading 20-14.
The Vikings (2-2, 1-0) got busy with their comeback when Appleby hit Denissoff on a 14-yard touchdown with 8:55 left in the third. That was the longest of Appleby’s four TD passes. Dom Iero’s point after put Hoover up for good at 21-20.
The Hoover defense made the lead stand up by picking off three Perry passes in the second half. Feinberg took the last one 48 yards for the game’s final score with 7:16 left.
Perry’s offense struggled in the second half after racking up more than 150 yards passing in the first two quarters. The Panthers were up 14-0 after one quarter, thanks to senior tailback Jon Miller’s two rushing touchdowns, the first coming from 37 yards following a Hoover fumble. Miller added a 1-yard dive later in the first, but the Panthers short-circuited drives with miscues more than once.
Appleby hit Feinberg on a 9-yard scoring pass early in the second quarter to trim Perry’s lead to 14-7. Hoover’s defense then tightened after Perry drove to its 5-yard line. Eventually forced to attempt a 23-yard field goal, a botched snap left the Panthers with nothing.
More special teams misadventures, this time a bad punt snap, set up Hoover at Perry’s 35 later in the second quarter. Appleby closed the drive with an 8-yard scoring pass to Strausser on fourth-and-6, and Iero’s PAT made it a 14-all game with 60 seconds left until half.
While the Panthers managed to drive 70 yards in less than a minute to take the lead, they couldn’t capitalize on the momentum.
“Our margin of error is so small, and we can’t make the mistakes we made and be successful against a Federal League team,” Boedicker said. “Being young is not an excuse. We dropped balls, we had mistakes in the kicking game. It’s just extremely frustrating when you have chances.”
After Iero’s 30-yard field goal extended Hoover’s lead to 24-20, Appleby’s final scoring pass covered 9 yards to Feinberg and put Hoover up 31-20 early in the fourth quarter. On the play, Appleby rolled left before eventually finding Feinberg open in the back of the end zone.
“You can’t give a kid like that opportunity after opportunity, because he’s going to beat you,” Boedicker said. “He was pinpoint tonight.”
Miller was an offensive bright spot for Perry, as he rushed for 120 yards on 21 carries.