Hoover 41 - Louisville 14
September 01, 2012
Hoover Vikings all smiles after 41-14 win over Louisville
Todd Porter, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON Smiles like these rarely have been seen lately at Hoover High School’s Memorial Stadium. Coming off consecutive 3-7 seasons and having suffered eight losses in the last 10 games to rival Louisville, the Vikings got theirs Friday night.
They lit up the scoreboard and the Leopards 41-14 in the kind of game that had to feel like a hot shower rinsing the grime of losing seasons off — not to mention a 50-7 Louisville win a year ago.
Hoover dominated every phase of the game.
“The feeling is better than expected,” Hoover senior quarterback Dom Iero said. “We wanted revenge for last year and to show everyone what we’re all about this year. It’s nice to get some momentum.”
Music thumped in the Hoover locker room. Coaches smiled and hugged.
This is what Hoover football is supposed to feel like.
“It’s good to get off to a good start and be 2-0 as opposed to 0-2,” Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “We have a lot of improving to do, but we have the ability to improve… We’re an above average football team that’s playing hard.”
The Vikings didn’t let a golden opportunity slip away in the first quarter. After a shanked 10-yard punt by the Leopards, the Vikings had the ball at Louisville’s 45-yard line.
Sam Woods busted a seam for 13 yards to the Louisville 5. Two plays later, Iero walked in on a sneak for a 7-0 Hoover lead.
Two plays later, the Leopards were staring at a long road back. Louisville junior QB Joey Duckworth overthrew a pass and Xavier Hogan picked it off at the 50 and returned it for a touchdown and a 14-0 North Canton lead with a second left in the first.
“We didn’t run a good route, and it wasn’t a good read,” Louisville head coach John DeMarco said. “Any time a quarterback throws an interception it looks like it’s him, but we didn’t help him out much.
“Bottom line is they came out determined to play. They played harder than we did.”
Louisville got the ball back and went three-and-out, after a dropped pass that might have extended the drive. Hoover went back to work with a traditional Hoover drive.
It covered 68 yards in nine plays. Sam Woods was rewarded for a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-1 and got the call on the next play and bulled his way in from the 2 for a 21-0 Hoover lead. Alex Welsh led the Vikings with 90 yards on 20 carries. Iero threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third.
After another three-and-out by the Leopards’ offense, which looked generally disinterested, Hoover went for the kill.
On first-and-10 from the Louisville 40, Iero faked an inside handoff, then a reverse and hit Austin Feinberg on a perfectly thrown pass into the end zone. Andrew Zalewski’s PAT made it 28-0 with 3:40 left before halftime.
The shower started on Hoover’s sideline.
With less than a minute before halftime, the Leps’ offense finally found the end zone. It took a nine-play, 70-yard drive to get there. Joseph Hayford scored from the 1 and Hoover led 28-7.
Prior to that drive, Louisville’s offense had 17 total yards.
Another rugby-style punt doomed Louisville in the third. This time is was partially blocked and the 3-yard punt put Hoover at the Louisville 27.
The Vikings scored on a 7-yard Iero-to-Feinberg pass for a 35-7 lead with 2:50 left in the third.
At that point, half of Hoover’s eight drives started in Louisville territory, including two inside the 30.
“Hogan’s interception return was huge,” Hertler said. “Any time you get a defensive or special teams score — and we have the last two weeks — that’s big. Hogan had two nice picks and he had a nice run.
We’re going to work him in on offense more as we figure things out.”
Hogan had a second interception return called back. Instead, Hogan lined up on offense and took a jet sweep 39 yards for a touchdown. Hogan jogged back to his teammates on the sideline wearing a smile that could’ve lit up the stadium.
This was, indeed, a different feeling, a different football team.
“Really, we’ve forgotten the past two seasons,” Iero said. “It’s one game at a time and getting better.”