Louisville 14 - Hoover 13
September 06, 2013
Zwick, Louisville holds off Hoover
By TODD PORTER, Repository sports writer
Edited: September 07, 2013 by Greg Kohntopp
LOUISVILLE For a defensive back, Connor Zwick is starting to dig this quarterback thing. Pressed into action when senior Joey Duckworth suffered a season-ending knee injury just before the season was to start, Zwick led Louisville to its second win of the season Friday night.
Zwick threw one touchdown pass and ran for another to lead Louisville to a 14-13 win over Hoover in a game marred by special-teams mistakes that led to scores.
Or in Hoover’s case, prevented a score on a botched crucial PAT kick in the closing seconds.
“Connor is getting more comfortable throwing the football,” Louisville head coach John DeMarco said. “He will miss some reads in the read-option, but I thought we were doing some things in the fourth quarter. You’re talking about a kid playing varsity quarterback, and he just started playing the position four weeks ago for the first time — ever.”
Not that North Canton Hoover head coach Don Hertler Jr. is going to have much sympathy for Louisville’s QB situation. Hertler’s Vikings are missing six starters to injury. A lack of depth in special teams hurt Hoover.
“It’s part of football, and I’m not complaining,” Hertler said. “But I haven’t been a part of anything like this in 29 years.”
Hoover quarterback Luke Grandjean, the nephew of Louisville’s head coach, led his team down the field on a last-minute drive that was impressive. Hoover got the ball at its own 15 and converted three fourth-down plays, a third-and-long and got the ball in the end zone.
Grandjean completed a fade pass in the left corner of the end zone to Josh Moss to get the Vikings to within a point.
But the PAT snap rolled back past the holder and Hoover’s comeback bid was erased.
Neither offense was lighting up the field, so it was anyone’s guess who would have, or how, they would have won in overtime.
“My heart wasn’t breaking when it happened,” DeMarco said.
Both offenses set the tone for a lackluster first half by trading three-and-out series at the outset. Louisville crossed into Hoover territory on its second series, but a 13-yard loss on a high snap buried any hopes of scoring.
Hoover’s offense did the same, but it was a holding penalty that set the Vikings back after crossing across the Leopards 35.
Late in the first half, the Leopards blocked a punt with 45 seconds left. A.J. Minster partially blocked it, but when a Louisville teammate tried to pick up the ball, he fumbled.
Hoover’s Clay Haverfield fell on the ball and resuscitated the Vikings’ chances. Grandjean threw consecutive short passes to get to the Louisville 24. An 8-yard pass to Zach Johnson resulted in a late-hit penalty and moved the Vikings to the Leopards’ 8.
On first-and-goal, Grandjean rolled right as running back Sy Hatcher ran a decoy route to clear out space. Grandjean kept it and scored over a defender at the goal line for a 7-0 lead with eight seconds left.
The Leopards finally got on the board in the third quarter. A high punt snap went over punter Andrew Zalewski’s head and the Leps recovered at the Hoover 14.
Two plays later, Zwick made a great read. His first read was a bubble screen pass that Hoover jumped. Instead, he hit Kyle Bast on a slant for a 12-yard touchdown.
Near the end of the third, Zwick completed a perfect pass and receiver Bryce Mathie made a better catch as he toed the sideline for a 26-yard gain to the Hoover 17. Three plays later, Zwick scored when he beat an inside blitz and ran around right end.
“He grew up a lot tonight,” DeMarco said.