Uniontown Lake 42 - Hoover 14
September 24, 2011
Lake gets first season against North Canton
Keno Sultan, The Suburbanite
When the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield WBA heavyweight title bout was made for November 9, 1996, the title of their much anticipated bout was “Finally.”
For the Lake Blue Streaks, their program had suffered through four straight losses to North Canton Hoover and five in a row going back to their stinging Division II state semifinal setback to Trotwood-Madison.
After two bitter losses to Green and Hudson, a heartbreaking loss to Canton McKinley that left the entire team in tears, and a haunting loss to Youngstown Boardman, Lake finally had enough and flipped on a switch.
The Blue Streaks scored on three of their first four possessions and turned four North Canton Hoover turnovers into 21 points as the hosts obtained their first triumph of the 2011 season with a 42-14 termination of the Vikings to up their record to 1-4 and 1-2 in the Federal League.
The Blue Streaks were long overdue for a victory not just for the season but also against a Vikings team that had outscored them over an average of 32 to 14.5 during the last four years.
“We just talked about showing up and coming to fight and everyone had the mindset that they were not going to take it (losing) any more. We showed tonight what we are all about,” Lake head coach Jeff Durbin said as he received a big hug from son Ted, who was in attendance tonight. “We played exceptionally well on defense tonight and we did what we had to do. The two interceptions we had in the end zone were huge.”
Interceptions by Jarrod Daugherty and Zach Gazdacko thwarted two solid scoring attempts by the Vikings in the first half. Senior quarterback and Purdue recruit Austin Appleby never saw both defenders on the plays. He also threw a third in the second half as well.
The first half was an abhorrent mess for the visitors as they were riddled with turnovers. The Blue Streaks scores in the first half came on their second, third, and fourth possessions that all spanned a combined 32 plays, with 11 play drives coming on their second and third possessions.
Daugherty was one of multiple running backs deployed tonight. The senior plowed through the North Canton Hoover defense for 114 yards and four touchdowns spanning 10, 15, 7, and 27 yards while quarterback Josh Peach threw for 100 yards and a touchdown pass. But there was no pass completion greater than his 17-yard pass to Corey Paulino that kept a Lake drive going on fourth down and 15 on their second possession.
“All the credit goes to the offensive line for allowing me to get open on that play. They put me in position to make that happen and it worked out real well,” Paulino said.
North Canton Hoover never really threatened the rest of the game after a second straight pass was picked off in the end zone when Appleby appeared to find an open receiver but never saw Gazdacko in sight.
“I just followed the ball and was in the right place at the right time,” he said.
The win was also a historic one for the program. It was the 100th victory of the program and what better way to come against a program like the Vikings.
Don Hertler Jr. knows a lot about winning going back to the 1996 season, his first at his alma mater. North Canton Hoover has been the class act of the league based on their multiple championships that have been raised during his 16 years at the school.
Tonight, he saw his team’s two-game winning streak squelched in a merciless manner. And like an expert physician, he diagnosed the final autopsy of the Vikings defeat that now has them sitting at 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
“Lake came out hungry for their first win of the season and they played real well. We got down in the red zone and we had two interceptions there and came away with nothing to show for it. You can’t turn the ball over in a game like that,” he said dejectedly. “This is the Federal League. We need to forget about this and go get ready for Youngstown Boardman and go from there.”
The Vikings averted a shutout much to the chagrin of the Blue Streaks when Xavier Hogan returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and then Appleby scored on a 20-yard touchdown run against Lake’s backup players.
When asked if the Blue Streaks were embittered about not getting a shutout in reference to Hogan’s touchdown, Paulino attested the team was shocked but not at all bitter by much.
“We were bitter about that but we still got a victory and that’s what we needed,” he said.
The Blue Streaks are at home next Friday night against the Perry Panthers, who at press time lost 40-2 to Boardman. Last season, both teams engaged in a high scoring battle that ended with the Panthers seizing a 44-33 victory over the Blue Streaks at Perry Stadium.
Durbin and his team intend to enjoy the win over North Canton Hoover and then turn their sights to notching a second straight win when the Panthers visit Lake Blue Streak Stadium.
“I’ll enjoy this for about three or four hours and then we’re going to make preparations for Perry,” he said.
The first Tyson-Holyfield fight was titled “Finally.” Lake’s win that abolished a five-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak to North Canton Hoover lived up to that title in a fitting manner.