Canton GlenOak 21 - Hoover 14
October 24, 2014
GlenOak outlasts Hoover
NORTH CANTON GlenOak was eyeing two big goals — a Federal League title and the playoffs — on Friday night.
All host Hoover had to play for was pride.
Motivation won out, but just barely.
The Golden Eagles defense dominated for three quarters, and their offense made key big plays as GlenOak outlasted the gritty Vikings, 21-14.
GlenOak quarterback Brennon Tibbs threw a 32-yard pass to Spencer Zernechel for the only scoring of the first half. Tibbs went the other route and caught a 10-yard end-around pass from Rashaad Gibbons in the third, and running back Jason Simon delivered an 82-yard sprint late to set up next week’s Federal League showdown with co-leader Perry.
“This is what it’s all about, we’ve put ourselves in this position,” GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia said after improving to 6-3 and 3-1 in the league. “Perry’s done a great job this year, so we look forward to it.”
The Golden Eagles certainly had to work to get there. They led just 7-0 at halftime despite 114 rushing yards from Tibbs as 15 penalties, three turnovers and a hard-hitting Hoover defense led by linebacker Clay Haverfield rose up to bite GlenOak.
Hoover’s problem was itself. It lost two fumbles and an interception in the first quarter and another fumble in the second, as well as quarterback Cameron Mayle to a crushing tackle.
The Vikings’ attack just couldn’t match the defensive intensity and speed of GlenOak. Defensive backs Justin Robinson and Kyle Hall forced the first-quarter turnovers, with Robinson recovering two fumbles back-to-back and Hall following with a pick at his own 18 to kill a drive.
“Our defense played it tough all night,” Vikings head coach Don Hertler Jr. said. “We just can’t hurt ourselves playing an athletic team like that. Give them credit, they’re well-coached, they play hard and they really hit.
“That was the best-hitting team we’ve faced all year, as far as being on the perimeter.”
When Mayle went down in the second quarter, running back Kyle Braucher came in for the final 1:51 of the half. He was hit out of bounds on a keeper, then revved up Hoover’s attack with a 22-yard run to GlenOak’s 16.
Trying to spike the ball, it fell out of Braucher’s hand and GlenOak pounced on it to end the half with the lead and a fourth Hoover turnover.
With the game that close, GlenOak went razzle-dazzle in the third for some breathing room. Two Tibbs’ completions to Deionne Harper for 30 yards gave the Eagles a first-and-10 at Hoover’s 12.
On third down, Simon took the direct snap, handed off to Gibbons coming left and the lanky junior lofted a perfect toss to a wide open Tibbs for the score and 14-0 lead.
“We pulled it out when we needed it,” Gibbons said. “It’s supposed to fake out the defense.”
It did, but it woke up Hoover. Sophomore Nick Binnie came in to replace Braucher, who was blasted by Fermin Oliviera the previous series. He got the offense to GlenOak’s 28, but the Vikes had to punt.
On Binnie’s next series, he got it in. He found Zach Johnson for 55 yards and then used the read option to bolt to the right pylon for six points.
Simon negated that touchdown on first down when he went off tackle, kicked it left and outraced a Hoover defender for 82 of his 156 yards.
Binnie went 4-for-4 his next series and fired a 14-yard fade that Johnson hauled in over a GlenOak defender for a 12-yard score.
But Simon’s score, followed by a 15-play drive that featured five first downs and tough running by Simon and Cameron Cubilla, didn’t allow Binnie a chance to tie.
“We needed a drive to bang out some first downs,” Garcia said. “Our offensive line did a great job, Jason and CC ran behind them, and that’s what we needed to do.”
For Hoover, it was more of the same a week after losing five turnovers.
“Our execution was a little short, but our kids played hard and if they continue to play that hard, that’s all I can ask,” Hertler said. “We’ve just got to clean it up and not lay the ball on the ground.”