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Canton GlenOak 28 - Hoover 0

September 16, 2016

Ladson helps GlenOak run past Hoover

Joe Scalzo, fridaynightohio.com


NORTH CANTON His running back may be the one named Elijah, but it’s GlenOak coach Scott Garcia who’s looking like a prophet.

After Golden Eagle senior Elijah Ladson ran around, through and away from Hoover’s undersized defense for 197 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-0 win over the Vikings in Friday’s Federal League opener, Garcia had him stand up in front of his teammates and said, “Remember what I told you? You could be the best player in the county.”

Not bad for a guy who never played running back before this year — at any level.

“He’s a physically gifted kid,” Garcia said. “He’s a powerful, big, strong, fast back. He’s one of the better ones we’ve had and he played like it tonight.

“He played like a man tonight.”

The 6-foot, 213-pound Ladson — who scored on touchdown runs of 42, 18 and 25 yards — has an innate feel for running the ball, repeatedly waiting for holes to develop, then bursting through with a rare combination of power and speed. Ladson credited his natural position, outside linebacker, for helping him adjust to what only looks like his natural position.

“I feel like, at outside linebacker, I can see what the running back is doing and it transfers over to me actually playing running back,” he said. “The guys opened holes for me, and I did what I had to do.”

GlenOak’s front seven did the same, piling up nine sacks against the undersized Vikings. Senior DT Steven Gilbert, who drew praise this week from Hoover coach Brian Baum, had three of those sacks and two more tackles for loss.

 “We knew they had a small offensive line and we got after it,” said Gilbert (5-9, 240). “At the beginning of the year, we knew one of the strengths of our team was going to be the interior of our defensive line, and we’re really happy with the way we played tonight.”

Senior JJ Olivera, getting his second start at quarterback after injuries to Tate Rhoads and Devin Flemming, completed just 4 of 14 passes for 72 yards, but made enough plays with his arm (including a 48-yard TD pass to Abe Billings) and his scrambling ability to keep the Vikings honest.

Hoover QB John Keller, meanwhile, was 13 of 24 for 135 yards and two interceptions while battling pressure all night. The Vikings’ best chance to score — and to make it a game — came when they were trailing 21-0 late in the third quarter. Hoover drove 54 yards in 15 plays to set up a fourth-and-1 at the GlenOak 2. But a false start penalty cost them five yards, and Keller was intercepted by Daquan Johnson on fourth down, with the Vikings (3-1) getting whistled for two penalties on the play for good measure.

“They made plays when they had to, and we had some opportunities that we did not capitalize on,” said Baum, whose team also missed a 40-yard field goal. “Against like that with stout offensive and defensive lines, you’ve got to take advantage of opportunities when you have them.”

GlenOak, which has won the last two Federal League titles, lost one of its best players this week in cornerback Tay Pryor, but its secondary of Johnson, Nick Gliatta, Darius Stokes and Gary Parker played well all night.

For the past two weeks, the Golden Eagles (3-1) have shown they can handle adversity.

Now, they’ll need to show they can handle success.

“We’ve gone through a lot of things here this season, and the kids have bounced back,” Garcia said. “We have a long way to go, we go to Green next week, and we’ll just keep on moving.”

Garcia smiled, then added, “I guess the best thing is nobody got hurt tonight.”

Source: fridaynightohio.com