Uniontown Lake 26 - Hoover 14
October 4, 2013
Andy Call, thesuburbanite.com
The Lake Blue Streaks weren’t going to leave any chance for a last-minute loss this time.
After back-to-back losses in the final 29 seconds of regulation, the Blue Streaks (3-3, 1-2 Federal League) started strong and closed out a 26-14 win over North Canton Hoover behind a relentless ground game.
After a sluggish first half for both sides on a soggy, muggy fall night, the hosts broke through with 13 points in the opening minutes of the second half to grab a 20-point lead that would prove to be enough in the end.
On the night, the Blue Streaks piled up 278 yards on the ground and averaged better than 5.2 yards per carry as the beleaguered Vikings could do little to slow them down.
Senior running back Matt Blasiole, who found the end zone three times on the night, gave Lake its final two touchdowns on runs of 3 and 2 yards, respectively. Blasiole also started the second half with a bang, returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to send a jolt through the Lake sideline and stands.
On the night, Blasiole carried the ball 37 times for 195 yards, tying the school’s all-time career rushing record.
Moments after his kick return for a score, Blasiole’s 3-yard TD run gave Lake a 20-0 lead. It was a seemingly insurmountable margin for the Vikings (1-5, 1-2), who moved the ball well all night but turned it over three times to ruin multiple scoring chances.
The Lake defense did its part to hamper Hoover, including a 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter by senior linebacker Ryan Delagrange. Defensive end Dalton Davis forced the fumble and Delagrange was able to scoop it up and sprint in for the game’s first score.
However, touchdowns in the closing minutes of the third quarter and opening minutes of the fourth brought Hoover back into the mix as Alex Binnie’s 5-yard TD reception and Luke Grandjean’s 1-yard TD run pulled the visitors within six, 20-14.
With the game back up for grabs, the Blue Streaks turned to their running game and it delivered once more as Blasiole carried the load on the winning drive and cashed in his final carry from 2 yards out for the clinching score. DeGeorge and his coaches gathered the offense before the drive and challenged them to step their game up.
“Before we went out, we talked with the offensive line and really challenged them,” DeGeorge said. “We had a nice long drive, converted some third down plays and were able to take time off the clock. It shows offensive line has consistently gotten better over the course of the year.”
The result was a 73-yard drive that left Lake with a 12-point lead and firmly in control of the game.
Gaining their first league win of the season and valuable playoff points were solid derivatives for Lake, but bouncing back from tough losses to Jackson and Canton McKinley was the primary goal for DeGeorge’s squad.
“I’m just just proud of them, to get a win for their sake,” DeGeorge added. “It’s great to see it pay off for them after a couple of tough weeks.”