Hoover 30 - Louisville 14
Hoover too physical for mistake-prone Leopards
Aug 31, 2018
NORTH CANTON Allegedly, football teams make their biggest strides between the opener and second game of the season. If that’s the case Hoover has a chance to be something special this season.
Vikings quarterback Connor Ashby and running back Adam Griguolo played smart, powerful and fast and Louisville was unable to limit the mistakes that cost it in Week 1 as Hoover ground out a 30-14 victory at Memorial Stadium to move to 2-0. Ashby completed 14 of 17 passes for 177 yards and Griguolo rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns as the Hoover offense played error-free football.
“I did see improvement in areas. We didn’t leave points off the board like we did last week and to be honest, Louisville had a nicer defense (than Brush) last week,” said fourth-year Vikings head coach Brian Baum. “They got after it, they were hard nosed.”
Nobody, though, was tougher than Griguolo. The junior back had an easy 4-yard touchdown run on the opening drive and Hoover never trailed. Griguolo’s other three touchdowns — 27, 23 and 27 — all included multiple broken tackles through the Louisville defense as he ran strong behind his big offensive line.
“I always thank our offensive line,” Griguolo said. “The five up front, the wide receivers, we’re a family up there.”
Griguolo took a hard-edged mentality into the 96th game between Louisville and Hoover.
“I head stuff that last week I didn’t have the best game,” he said. “I took that into this game and took that (physical) mentality into the game.”
Griguolo’s two scores in the first half helped his team to a 17-7 lead. Louisville shot itself in the foot in the half with seven penalties, including a big roughing the passer call that wiped out a 70-yard pick-six by Dillon Rebuck with 10 seconds left in the half.
The Leopards (0-2) moved the ball all game and never punted. Three interceptions and nine penalties kept them in neutral or reverse when they needed it most despite the best efforts of quarterback Jared Mathie. Mathie, who replaced Colton Jones after one series, threw for 242 yards and a 30-yard score to Davis Burick and ran 5 yards for a touchdown, but Louisville failed to reach 20 points for the second straight week.
“We didn’t finish,” ninth-year Louisville head coach John DeMarco said. “We didn’t finish drives. How many times were we in the red zone and didn’t score.
“We turned it over three times. Seven penalties in the first half, one cost us a touchdown and we just missed another touchdown in the end zone.”
Baum was pleased with his team’s physicality.
“Adam is a hard-nosed kid,” he said. “He got us moving with the offensive line. I know he did one of those on his own, but our offensive line and him did a good job setting up the running game. And they’ve got to be honest, because Connor can pop (a pass or run) at any time.”
“We knew they were physical,” DeMarco said after Hoover gained 200 yards on the ground. “There offensive line is huge.”
The Vikings defense played big, too. AJ Vega had two dazzling interceptions. The senior cornerback picked off Jones on the game’s first series, leading to Hoover’s first TD. His second interception, to open the third quarter, led to another Griguolo touchdown and a 23-7 lead that proved to be insurmountable. When linebacker Andrew Spence picked off a Mathie shuffle toss in the fourth quarter, it sealed Hoover’s third straight win in the series.
“It’s nice to get the run game and passing game going like that, and our defense has really been stepping up this year,” Baum said. “We’re seeing them really flying to the football. Now we’ve just got to take it to next week.”
Reach Jim, Canton Repository