Hoover 33 - Canton GlenOak 20
October 20, 2012
Hoover comes up big in 33-20 win over GlenOak
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON As the man who made the Immaculate Reception watched, Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. and his players pulled off the Immaculate misconception.
All week long, Hertler talked about how much bigger GlenOak’s high school football team was. And the Golden Eagles were. He talked about how much faster they were.
And the Golden Eagles were.
Hertler never talked about heart and determination. They don’t measure those in a weight room or with a stopwatch.
Hoover stunned GlenOak early, rallied from a deficit and put itself in position for a huge regular-season finale next week with a 33-20 win. The loss, coupled with McKinley’s win at Boardman, knocked GlenOak out of the Federal League championship.
Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris watched in steady, cold rain from the sideline.
He is a relative of Hoover running back Sam Woods, whose father played with Franco Harris in Pittsburgh.
“There wasn’t a whole lot to talk about before the game,” Hertler said. “They knew what it was about. They knew. Our guys worked hard for eight weeks to put themselves in a position for a big game. We’re not good individually, but we play together as a team.”
GlenOak came back from a 19-0 first-quarter deficit and took a 20-19 lead in the third quarter. Hoover hit back, and kept hitting.
The Vikings got a key stop early in the fourth quarter to set up their offense in prime field position — GlenOak’s 48.
That’s all Hoover quarterback Dom Iero needed. He completed a 17-yard screen pass to Woods on third-and-2 to the GlenOak 23. Four plays later, Iero scored the second of three rushing touchdowns for a 27-20 lead.
GlenOak’s offense had to rely on running back Justin Smith, a Hoover transfer, because quarterback Reid Worstell had a non-disclosed injury that limited his throwing ability. A second gaffe in the punting game led to Hoover’s game-clinching score in the fourth.
“They outplayed us, they outcoached us, they out-everythinged us,” GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia said.
Hoover’s offense was near perfect in the first quarter. They had three possession and scored three touchdowns, one a gift from GlenOak’s punt team.
After Iero hit John Zucal for a 13-yard TD pass, GlenOak punter Jake Tisevich dropped the snap in his own end zone. The punt then appeared to be partially blocked by Jake Massolini.
“That was huge,” Hertler said.
“We handed it to them with plays on special teams, offsides penalties and dropped passes,” Garcia said.
Either way, the Vikings took over at the GlenOak 7. On third down, Iero completed an easy, pass to a wide-open Luke Grandjean for a 12-0 lead.
Again, GlenOak went three-and-out.
Iero scored on the ground and Hoover led 19-0 with 2:04 still to play in the first.
GlenOak was about ready to take a standing eight count.
“They beat Massillon and McKinley, and they were 7-1 coming in, they’re a great team coming in and they came back from being down 19-0 … they’re still a great team,” Hertler said, obviously aware of a possible rematch in the playoffs.
GlenOak’s stagnant offense went to the stacked-I with fullbacks Zack Meronoff and Vince Cuenot leading the way for Smith, who carried it all seven plays for 57 yards and scored from the 29 on a brutal stiff arm. That cut the lead to 19-7. Smith finished with 162 yards on 29 carries and scored all three of GlenOak TDs.
“He ran hard tonight,” Hertler said. “I’ve seen him run like that before. He ran like that for us last year against Jackson.”
GlenOak scored on the opening possession of the second half. Smith popped a seam from 24 yards out and GlenOak had life, down 19-14.
Hoover punted on its next series — its first punt of the game – and the Golden Eagles answered. This time out of a mix of stacked-I, traditional I and some spread, they converted two third downs and a fourth-down play at the Hoover 5.
Smith scored from the 3 and GlenOak lead 20-19.
Iero — and a cast of teammates (Woods, Alex Welsh, Grandjean to name a few) — closed the door. Iero finished with 109 yards on the ground and 152 in the air. He threw two TD passes in addition to his three on the ground.
“We win as a team, and we lose as a team … but he’s a special player,” Hertler said. “We put the ball in his hands because he’s a great competitor. There’s no way we should be on the field with those guys and score 33 points. Our kids rose up and played with heart.”October 20, 2012