Canton McKinley 44 - Hoover 14
September 18, 2015
McKinley routs Hoover
Steve Hickman, Canton repository
NORTH CANTON A strong performance from a surging senior running back.
Excellent special teams.
A stout defense.
That was the winning formula Friday night for the McKinley football team, as the Bulldogs downed Hoover 44-14 in the Federal League opener for both teams at Memorial Stadium.
Senior running back Devion Jenkins did most of the damage for the McKinley offense. Jenkins had four rushing touchdowns, and used his speed and power to keep the Hoover defense on its toes all night.
“He started playing really well last week,” McKinley head coach Dan Reardon said. “He got off to a little bit of a slow start to the season, but he came on strong in our last game. It was nice to see that continue tonight.”
Jenkins lowered his shoulder and gained 104 yards rushing on just 14 attempts Friday. He came through in key situations on the goal line all night. Jenkins had two rushing touchdowns from the 1-yard line despite playing against a stacked line of scrimmage.
“He’s a strong kid,” Reardon said. “He’s put a lot of time in. That shows and that’s the kind of performance you want from your senior leaders.”
It was the Bulldog special teams and defense that set the table for Jenkins most of the night.
The McKinley special teams, in particular, were impressive. The Bulldogs got a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown by Tre’On Vance in the first quarter to help McKinley get out to a 13-0 lead.
To start the second half, McKinley kicked off and managed to recover the kick near the Hoover sideline at Viking 19 after nobody from the receiving team was able to fall on it. That set up a 19-yard run by Jenkins on the next play to give McKinley a 27-0 lead.
“I think we spend as much time on special teams as anybody in the state,” Reardon said. “It’s an area that I think we’ve taken a big jump in since the start of the season. Our punting was solid all night. Our kick return team got us a touchdown. We were also able to get a hat on the ball and jump on the kickoff to start the second half.”
The plays on special teams were key turning points in the game.
“The punt return hurt us “ Hoover head coach Brian Baum. “We know how to cover the kickoff play also. We were missing some guys on special teams tonight. We know how to cover that kickoff play, though, and we’ll get that corrected.”
McKinley’s defense also made things tough on the Vikings.
Hoover was held to 61 yards rushing and the Bulldogs also forced two turnovers.
A key interception by McKinley linebacker Reggie Corner helped set the Bulldog offense up on the 1-yard line where Jenkins was able to punch it in for a touchdown.
“The defense played well, especially in the first half,” Reardon said. “….Reggie is just good. He’s fast. He fly’s around. He’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s scary to think he’s only a junior.”
Though Hoover was behind for much of the game the Vikings never gave up. Senior quarterback Cameron Mayle in the second half provided a spark. Mayle tossed two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut McKinley’s lead to 27-14.
“We were looking for that spark in the passing game and tonight Cam was able to provide that,” Baum said. “The defense settled in on him a little bit in the fourth quarter. We have two kids battling it out at quarterback and that will continue.”
The Bulldogs were able to answer Mayle’s TD passes with 17 unanswered points to close the game.
“We have great kids,” Baum said. “They showed a lot of character. The Hoover Vikings will always fight until the end no matter what. I’m really proud of these guys. They have the right attitude.”