Hoover 50 - Akron East 20
NORTH CANTON Akron East had size, talent, program momentum and — soon enough — no chance.
Hoover rolled to a 50-20 high school football win Friday. A year after finishing 2-8, some of the Vikings were saying there’s a chance.
“I can see playoffs in our future,” said junior running back Luke Reicosky, who scored three touchdowns.
“I think we can win the Federal League,” said junior quarterback John Keller, who went 12-of-18 for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Head coach Brian Baum likes that kind of enthusiasm, but he added, “They’re young. Let’s be real. There’s a long, long way to go.”
He nodded to the Federal League schedule, with GlenOak, McKinley and Perry on the near horizon.
East arrived with Jemarulin Suggs, a dynamo senior who ran for 502 yards at 10 yards per carry through two games. Suggsoperated behind fellow University of Akron recruit Deandre Brimage (6-2, 275), a big man on one of the larger fronts the Vikings will face. On defense, Brimage lined up beside junior Ramon Field (6-3, 385).
On both sides of the ball, Hoover kept making big plays. It began on the first series, when Dillon Smith, Mitch Lofland, Nick Binnieand Ben Hayden swarmed around Suggs in the backfield.
The Vikings’ defense forced five straight three-and-outs to open the game.
Hoover had the ball near midfield on its first series when Keller found speedy senior Ben Harris (six catches, 84 yards) on a quick out. Harris broke a tackle and sailed to a touchdown.
The Vikings’ next series stalled at the 1, but East soon took a safety, and Eric Sarbaugh returned the free kick 59 yards, back to the 1. Reicosky took it in on the next snap.
On Hoover’s next series, a Harris catch and a late-hit penalty advanced the ball 30 yards in seconds. Reicosky scored on a 13-yard run over the left side. The Vikings had 23 points about 23 minutes before sunset.
After the next series, sophomore Jackson Davis made his first three runs of the game, the first covering 31 yards, the second eight yards to the 1, and the next enough for a touchdown. It was 30-0. The sun still wasn’t down. There were eight minutes left in the second quarter.
“They came out and played good football,” said East head coach Marques Hayes. “We knew they had a good quarterback. He hit three bubble screens that went for big gains, and that was big.”
East has been competitive lately. The Dragons went 4-3 in the Akron City Series last year and beat Akron Springfield last week, a week after giving Jackson trouble for a while.
They came to life in the twilight, rapidly closing to within 30-14.
The Vikings’ magic touch returned before the band show. Keller completed passes to Reicosky, Nick Binnie and Harris to set up a first and goal from the 7. Keller scrambled until Sarbaugh worked open in the right corner of the end zone. The score came with one second left in the half. It was 37-14.
“That was a big touchdown,” Baum said.
Hoover opened the second half with a long scoring drive capped by a second short TD run by Davis (nine carries, 89 yards). It was 43-14. Then Reicosky (nine carries, 117 yards) shot up the middle and sprinted 60 yards, making it 50-14, and starting a running clock with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
“We prepared the right way all week, and we treated it like any other game,” said the quarterback Keller. “I think we’re coming together.”