Hoover 32 - Lyndhurst Brush 26
August 28, 2015
Hoover rallies to beat Brush in Baum’s debut
Josh Weir, fridaynightohio.com
NORTH CANTON The game ball Hoover High School senior lineman Patrick Kotnik gave Brian Baum on Friday night was not the first of Baum’s coaching career.
But it will hold a special place in Baum’s heart.
“Let me tell you why I like this one the best out of all the ones I have,” Baum shouted to his players huddled in front of him on the Memorial Stadium turf. “Because of that bad-ass Viking on it. That’s what it’s about, baby!”
The Vikings rallied from a nine-point deficit early in the second half to beat Brush 32-26 in Baum’s Hoover debut.
Coaching debuts don’t happen all that often in North Canton. Baum is the fourth head coach to grace the sidelines for the Vikings in the past 56 years. His predecessor, Don Hertler Jr., who spent the previous 19 years guiding the Vikings ship, attended Friday.
“To get the first one after working hard all summer, being a new coach, implementing some new things, doing different things with the staff, it’s just huge,” said Baum, who came to Hoover after a 40-16 run at Fredericktown. “It sets you up and gives you a fighting chance from here on out each and every week.”
Fight is what the Vikings showed after struggling to handle Brush’s speed advantage for the first half.
As the second half wore on, the Vikings’ pass defense became tighter. Their offensive line blocked more effectively after Brush had applied constant pressure in the first half.
“They came out and I saw a different look in their eyes,” Baum said. “… The look was, ‘We’re going to win this game.’ They were confident about it.”
The Vikings had major issues with Brush’s arsenal of small, quick receivers.
Sophomore QB Godwin Joe was quick enough to escape Hoover’s pressure and skilled enough to accurately throw on the run. He threw touchdowns to three different receivers through the game’s first 26 minutes.
At that point, he had completed better than 70 percent of his passes for 231 yards.
But things went south from there for Joe, who completed 5 of 11 passes for 59 yards in the game’s final 22 minutes, during which Hoover snagged two of its three interceptions.
“He’s a sophomore,” said Brush head coach Jeff Fink, also making a debut at his school. “We’ve got to get him to mature through some things. He’ll grow from it. As he progresses and grows, I think he’s going to be a really good quarterback.”
Hoover senior linebacker Vince Decenso picked off Joe twice. The first, way back in the early stages of the game, went for a pick-six.
The second, early in the fourth quarter, gave Hoover the ball right back after the Vikings had been stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play. It set them up with good field position. That eventually led to Cam Mayle running 3 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:41 left in the game.
Decenso barely played in last week’s scrimmage against Mentor after the coaching staff moved him to an inside linebacker position. To get him on the field more for Friday’s opener, they moved him back outside.
“It paid off in dividends tonight,” Baum said.
Junior defensive back Donny Genetin outfought a Brush receiver for another interception later in the fourth, part of Hoover holding the Arcs scoreless on their final four possessions.
The Vikings seemed to adjust to the speed of the game. Suddenly the Brush receivers did not find themselves so wide open.
Mayle, a senior, and sophomore John Keller split time at quarterback for the Vikings. Each had good moments.
Keller completed all six of his second-half passes and finished 7-for-9 for 78 yards to go with 47 yards on 15 carries. Mayle completed 6 of 11 passes for 53 yards and added 39 yards rushing and two touchdowns in his nine carries.
“They’re a nice tandem,” Baum said. “They work well together, and that’s hard to do with two quarterbacks.”
Keller led the biggest drive of the game.
The Arcs had just gone up 26-17 on the first possession of the second half. Keller and the Vikings answered with an 11-play, 88-yard drive that ended with junior fullback Reed Davis plowing in for a 2-yard touchdown.
“We knew we had to respond,” Baum said. “Our kids did that.”
Senior Vince Serapiglia led the Vikings with four catches for 51 yards.
Senior Austin Scott led Brush with seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
The first three and a half minutes of the game had a half’s worth of action.
Hoover’s Ben Harris returned the opening kickoff 81 yards to Brush’s 12-yard line. The Vikings stalled from there and missed a 31-yard field goal.
Two plays later, Decenso picked off Brush’s first pass of the game and returned it 21 yards for a 7-0 lead.
The home crowd did not get much time to enjoy the play after Jordan Overton, a University of Buffalo recruit, struck for Brush. Overton caught a pass in the right flats, shed one tackle and was gone 70 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Down 19-14 late in the first half, Hoover’s Nathan George broke loose on a 51-yard run that got the Vikings out of the shadow of their own goalpost.
It eventually led to a 27-yard Eric Sarbaugh field goal with 1.8 seconds left, cutting Brush’s lead to 19-17 at the intermission. That despite Brush outgaining Hoover 227-124 in total offense in the first half.