Hoover 40 - Massillon Jackson 7
October 26, 2012
Jackson turnovers lead to Hoover third-quarter flurry
David Harpster, Massillon Independent
JACKSON TWP. While Mitt Romney was rallying voters about 10 minutes away at Hoover High School in anticipation of a close 2012 presidential election, the Hoover football team was busy punching its playoff ticket at rival Jackson in a landslide.
There were no recounts necessary in this one. Think Reagan-Mondale in 1984.
The Vikings used three third-quarter touchdowns on three straight offensive plays — all coming off three straight Jackson turnovers and taking just 57 seconds — to blow open a close game and roll to a 40-7 win over the Polar Bears.
Hoover is now 8-2 overall and finishes 4-2 in the Federal League. The Vikings needed a win to cement a playoff spot in the Division I, Region 2 field. Jackson finishes 5-5 overall and 2-4 in league play.
The win may have been a costly one for Hoover, though. Quarterback Dom Iero, who passed for four touchdowns and ran for another, was helped off the field after suffering a right ankle injury on a two-point conversion run with the Vikings up 33-7. Iero left the field at the conclusion of the game on a cart.
“He’s a got an ankle (injury) so we’ll see where he’s at for next week,” Hoover coach Don Hertler Jr. said.
Trailing just 14-7 at the start of the third quarter, Jackson was in the midst of a nine-play drive when it fumbled at Hoover’s 25. Iero dropped back and found Luke Grandjean on a quick hitter 15 yards across the middle. Grandjean split Jackson’s defense and outran two Bears to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown with 8:18 left in the quarter. Andre Zalewski’s third-straight point-after gave Hoover a 21-7 lead.
Grandjean immediately set up the next score with an interception on Jackson’s next snap, returning the pick 31 yards to the Bears’ 5. Iero took it in on the next play for a 27-7 Hoover lead after the kick was missed.
The deluge continued when Hoover’s Greg Soehnlen pounced on a Jackson fumble on the Bears’ next play. Iero then hit Austin Feinberg on a 38-yard touchdown and a 33-7 Hoover lead.
“We hit the seam route there on the waggle and that got us started,” Hertler said. “Then the wheels just sort of feel off for Jackson after that. The turnovers killed them and we did a good job capitalizing on the chances we had. We’re happy with the way we competed in the second half.”
The Vikings’ blitz lasted less than a minute on the game clock but felt like an eternity for Jackson coach Beau Balderson.
“The turnovers are the key to the game,” Balderson said. “We just made way too many mistakes against a good team.
“It’s really deflating when you move the ball all the way down the field and fumble and then they score on the next play. It was one of those things that snowballed on us.”
For good measure, Hoover added another third-quarter touchdown after forcing a quick Jackson three-and-out. Xavier Hogan’s 39-yard punt return set up the Vikings at Jackson’s 11. Two plays later, Alex Welsh scored from 7 yards out with 6:21 left in the third.
The final tally was four Hoover touchdowns in just 2:10 of game time.
Iero was 11-of-18 passing for 256 yards before leaving. Both Feinberg (8 catches, 152 yards) and Grandjean (2-106) racked up more than 100 yards receving. Feinberg gave Hoover a 14-7 halftime lead after hauling in scoring throws of 12 and 49 yards from Iero in the second quarter.
“We’ve got some good receivers and the pass protection was really good for Dom tonight,” Hertler said. “There’s a lot of really good players in the county this year, but I think we have to have one or two of the very best all-around ones.”
Jackson scored on its first possession for a 7-0 lead, as sophomore Shane Ridgway hit Eian Elsass from 25 yards out with 7:18 on the clock.
Ridgway started in place of junior Tyler Langenfeld, who suffered an ankle injury in last week’s 6-3 win at Perry.
“Shane came in and did the best he could, a sophomore in the biggest game of the year,” Balderson said. “We needed to respond around him and unfortunately we just didn’t execute very well at all. It’s disappointing in a game like this, when the community supports us like they have.”