Hoover 17 - Louisville 14
September 05, 2014
Hoover wills way past Louisville for milestone victory
NORTH CANTON The game ball came his way.
A drained Don Hertler Jr., though, looked right back at his players on a night he achieved a career milestone in an exciting 17-14 win over visiting Louisville in the 92nd edition of this storied rivalry.
Hoover scored 10 unanswered fourth-quarter points, capped by sophomore Eric Sarbaugh’s 22-yard field goal with 1:44 to play, as it dominated play on both sides of the ball after intermission.
That made Hoover 1-1, and it gave head coach Hertler his 200th win, on the hallowed field named for his father, who was Hoover’s head coach for so long before passing away last year.
“I’ve never won a football game in my life,” Hertler said to his team after accepting a game ball in the locker room. “Only you guys win football games.”
Hoover won this one because it wanted it so badly. How badly?
Badly enough that Hertler started junior Cameron Mayle at quarterback over opening week starter Kyle Braucher, who moved to halfback and led all running backs with 61 yards, a touchdown and three receptions.
It looked like a great move immediately. On Hoover’s first series, on second-and-7, Mayle rolled right and found Vinnie Serapiglia dragging across the field for an 18-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead.
Mayle and Serapiglia were on target all night. They connected seven times for 82 yards, including two gains of 13 and 20 yards.
“Coming in with the game plan, I felt confident in our quarterback and my line getting protection to throw,” Serapiglia said. “I just did my part.”
Braucher, who scored from a yard out to tie the game at 14-14 in the fourth, then did his part in his new role. He carried six straight times to the Leopards’ 6 on the drive that set up Sarbaugh’s chip shot.
“We’ve been working on this in practice, we prepared for this game,” Mayle said after his 17-of-22 passing performance for 173 yards. “Vinnie, he’s a great receiver. I know if he gets the ball he’s going to make a great play. Kyle, he’s a great running back.
“This is a huge win for us. My first varsity start — I loved it, it was a great experience, beating Louisville on our home field.”
Louisville, which had not lost in the regular season since 2012, simply didn’t have much chance after fighting to a 7-7 halftime deadlock. Hoover ran 40 plays to the Leopards’ 15, with the final time of possession 29:09-18:51 in the Vikings’ favor.
“The second half, we just couldn’t get in a rhythm because they held the ball,”
Louisville head coach John DeMarco said. “We had trouble getting back in the groove.”
DeMarco said his Leopards had their chance early. In their five first-half possessions, they reached Hoover territory every time, yet managed just one score.
That was a big one, however.
DeMarco countered Hertler with his own quarterback move after Hoover scored first.
Facing a second-and-8 at Hoover’s 18, backup quarterback Jacob Adams came in and lofted an arcing toss in the corner of the end zone that 6-foot-3 Alec Jones grabbed for six points.
But that was it in the first half. With under a minute in the half, a second-and-1 at Hoover’s 6 went unfulfilled after the Vikings’ Alex Shaffer stopped Connor Zwick for no gain on third down and Austin Terra’s 29-yard field goal sliced wide.
That swung things Hoover’s way for good. Not even Zwick’s 67-yard pass to Josh Swanson and subsequent 10-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Woost in the third could jump-start Louisville.
“We didn’t take advantage of it (the first half),” DeMarco said. “We left points on the field, right at the end of the half.”
Hoover was glad about that.
“We practiced great all week,” Serapiglia said. “We wanted it. We knew who we were up against.”
Up against it, tied at half and losing in the fourth, “we finished,” Hertler said.
“It was a huge win for our school, and this rivalry,” he added. “Now, we have to build on it.”