Uniontown Lake 28 - Hoover 0
October 2, 2015
Lake finds redemption in shutout of Hoover
Jim Thomas, Canton Repository
LAKE TWP. Turns out there was nothing wrong with Lake’s run game or defense.
Better execution Friday night against Hoover, particularly in the red zone, led to a big night on the ground as the Blue Streaks cruised to a 28-0 Federal League victory over the Vikings.
Lake snapped a two-game losing streak and won its first league game as quarterback Adam Leonti carried the load with 17 carries, 131 yards and two touchdowns.
“The kids played hard; they responded,” Lake head coach Dan DeGeorge said after his team chewed up a season-high 295 rushing yards to improve to 4-2 and 1-2 in the league. “I thought what happened last week brought us a little closer together.”
“Last week” involved Lake getting stopped for loss twice at McKinley’s 1 in the fourth quarter of a tough loss. These Blue Streaks weren’t about to be stopped by the Vikings.
They ran 32 plays in the second half, none for a loss, and converted two fourth-down plays for scores. That’s after starting the game with two touchdowns Leonti set up with runs of 50 yards in the first series and 42 the next.
“We had to practice a lot harder and learn from our mistakes,” said junior tight end Brandon Hadinger, who caught Leonti’s 4-yarder for a touchdown on fourth-and-4 in the third quarter. “Mistakes — that’s what happened to us the last two weeks. So we just kept working hard and we worked as a team and kept together.”
Hadinger and Lake offensive linemen Josh Hutcherson, Petey Flower, Jacob Hutcherson, Marcus Anderson and Jacob Baxter put together the quintessential drive to start the third quarter. Lake used 18 plays to cover 80 yards, all but the final pass to Hadinger a run.
“We sort of challenged our offensive line this week after what took place (against McKinley),” DeGeorge said. “They responded in a lot of ways. We had some fourth-down conversions, some long third-down conversions.”
Even more impressive than the offense was the Lake defense. Hoover (1-5, 0-3) could not run the ball, generating just 56 yards.
That allowed the Blue Streaks to pressure Hoover quarterback John Keller, and the results were impressive.
Linebacker Clay Shreve had three sacks, Teddy Gillespie had two, Robbie Dellagrange had 1.5, Hadinger and Justin Lane had one apiece in a relentless attack that generated nine plays for loss. Lane also made a nice interception on a tipped ball just before halftime to deny Hoover any momentum going to the breakdown 14-0.
“We felt like we were well-prepared for what they were going to do in certain situations,” DeGeorge said. “Our kids did a great job on being coachable, and that showed on defense.”
The lack of protection stalled the Vikings offense.
“We’ve got to protect up front; it doesn’t matter who is at quarterback, running back or receiver,” first-year Hoover head coach Brian Baum said. “You’ve to protect, and (Lake) did a nice job getting after it.
“I tip my hat to Lake. They were well-coached and real aggressive on the defensive line.”
Hoover came in allowing 208 yards a game on the ground. The Vikings were solid up front in the first half, as linemen Ben Kiesling and Bruce Wolff did a good job at the point of contact.
But when Leonti broke the line of scrimmge on the first two Lake series, he made Hoover pay. His 50-yarder set up Joel Francis’ 1-yarder to make it 7-0. Leonti capped it himself the second drive, faking the handoff before sprinting 18 yards.
“Offensively, we ran the ball well,” DeGeorge said, “which we wanted to come in and establish.”
Leonti also finished the scoring in the final minute on Lake’s third fourth-down try of the game. He faked a jet sweep to Jacob Myers going right, a play in which Myers had picked up a first down on fourth-and-2 in Lake’s first series of the game. When Hoover flowed with Myers, Leonti scooted left untouched for the 16-yard touchdown, and Lake’s redemption was complete.