Hoover 48 - Canton GlenOak 7
NORTH CANTON Friday’s game stopped while eyes turned to the north end zone.
Then the 2018 team took the spotlight with a head-turning 48-7 conquest of GlenOak.
Hoover’s latest contender?
“We’ve got to make sure we continue to grow,” head coach Brian Baum said after his team improved to 3-1 with a rousing league opener. “We’re gonna take on a a good McKinley team next week. We have stuff to prove as a staff and a team, and that’s getting Hoover back to where we belong, contending for a Federal League championship in Weeks 9 and 10.”
Sophomore quarterback Connor Ashby had a big day passing (12-of-12, 276 yards, four touchdowns) and running (three carries, 72 yards, two TDs).
“The wide receivers were able to make the catches, the line did their job, and he was able to zip that ball,” Baum said. “And he had something to prove. It was his first time in a league game, varsity. He wants to be very good.”
Hoover’s celebration afterward was much tamer than its play. Ashby’s tone was matter of fact when he said, “We just have to enjoy tonight and tomorrow and move on to the next week. Just keep moving on.”
GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia couldn’t get his team to the buses fast enough.
“We just didn’t play hard,” he said after his young team fell to 1-3, 0-1. “It doesn’t matter what scheme we run, it doesn’t matter what defense we run. We didn’t play hard, and until we do, this is what’s going to happen to us.”
GlenOak stuck to the run and, on fourth-and-1 near midfield, got a 17-yard gain from Leeshawn Johnson to stall Hoover’s early momentum. The Golden Eagles didn’t score, but they got another chance when they sniffed out a fake punt near midfield.
Another good special teams play stuck Hoover at its own 1, where Christian Lopes sprinted to keep a punt from rolling into the end zone. On first down from his own 1, Ashby lost the ball. GlenOak senior linebacker Chris Armstead recovered in the back of the end zone for a TD that pulled GlenOak into a 7-7 tie.
Moments later, before the first quarter was out, Ashby faked a handoff and sprinted left on a keeper covering 56 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead. Hoover safety AJ Vega sniffed out a deep route and intercepted on the first play of the second quarter. Ashby maneuvered around the right side for a 16-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
David Forrest‘s interception led to a 22-yard TD pass from Ashby to Johnson and a 28-7 lead. By then, midway through the second quarter, GlenOak had little choice but to go for it on fourth-and-3, again near midfield. An incomplete pass, however, took the Eagles situation from bad to worse.
With 4:26 left in the half, Ashby and Johnson connected for a 46-yard catch and run for a TD that made it 34-7.
Hoover was getting busy on both sides of the ball. Senior Luke Hayden‘s sack set up an Ashby strike over the middle to 6-foot-4 senior Mike Robinson, whose 54-yard catch and run made it 41-7 late in the first half. Senior Jonah Cline boomed the kickoff into the end zone for a touchback.
Ashby had all of his passing stats in the books even before the second half opened with a running clock.
Most of the third quarter consisted of one drive on which all 14 plays were carries by Hoover’s Adam Griguolo, capped by his touchdown. He ran for 76 yards in the sequence.
“Try to get a stop,” Garcia said. “I mean, that was the plan. And they just kind of shoved it down our throat.”