Stow 27 - Hoover 17
August 27, 2011
Not a good time’ for Hoover in loss
Walt Doerschuk, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON On a night when a Hoover coaching great was honored, Stow’s ground attack spoiled the Vikings’ celebration.
Stow defeated Hoover, 27-17, on opening night of the high school football season Friday. The Bulldogs gained more than 300 yards rushing, with senior tailback Nick Mutaali as the their workhorse.
After the game, as players filed out of the locker room, head coach Don Hertler Jr. was unavailable for comment. When approached about Hertler’s availability, one of the assistant coaches said, “Now is not a good time.”
Hoover was playing its first game on its new FieldTurf. At halftime, Hoover dedicated the field to Don Hertler Sr., naming it in honor of the former Viking coach. Hertler Sr. received a robust standing ovation from about 7,000 fans during the ceremony. The Hertler family stood at midfield as the crowd roared and bulbs flashed.
The Vikings came out with a solid first drive on the new field, as they led 3-0 after senior Ryan Sarbaugh booted a 27-yard field goal with 7:06 to go in the first quarter. It was set up by a 15-yard pass from senior quarterback and Purdue recruit Austin Appleby to senior receiver Stephen Denissoff.
That was about all the packed house had to cheer in the opening half, as Stow advanced deep into Hoover territory four times and led, 12-3, at the break.
Stow converted two big fourth-down plays into touchdowns en route to its victory. On its last drive of the first half, Stow faced a fourth-and-12 from the Hoover 25. Senior quarterback Christopher Choler found his sophomore tight end Matthew Beech open over the middle for a huge 17-yard gain. Two plays later, senior Luke Kiehl pounded it into the end zone to make it 12-3 as the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Choler then scampered for a 30-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs’ first drive of the third quarter. On fourth-and-5, the 5-foot-10 quarterback was nearly sacked before he escaped and maneuvered his way down the right sideline for the score. Choler connected with James Grigg for the two-point conversion to make it 20-3 with 7:35 to play in the third.
Hoover’s offense struggled throughout the game. Appleby finished 15-of-31 and one touchdown through the air.
Things started to click in the third when Xavier Hogan beat his man and burst open down the right sideline. Appleby and Hogan connected on a 22-yard pass to the Stow 1. Junior tailback Sam Woods punched it in to make it 20-10 with one minute left in the quarter.
Hoover’s final touchdown came with 2:50 to play in the game when Appleby found Jon Nutt for a 4-yard touchdown reception.