Hoover 45 - Louisville 21
NORTH CANTON The ACTs await Drew Robinson Saturday morning.
On Friday night, Robinson and his Hoover Viking teammates eventually figured out and passed the Louisville test.
Robinson ran for a career-high 207 yards and three touchdowns as Hoover pulled away from Louisville in the fourth quarter for a 45-21 win at Memorial Stadium.
The 98th edition of this high school football rivalry — with 1,020 fans in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions — didn’t disappoint with more than 500 yards of offense in the first half and a tied score going into the fourth quarter.
Then it was all Hoover.
Robinson’s 48-yard touchdown run with 10:06 left broke a 21-21 tie and capped an 11-play, 99-yard drive for the Vikings (2-2). From there, three Louisville turnovers (a Levi Wood fumble recovery and two DJ Reed interceptions) enabled Hoover to score the final 24 points of the night and run away with the win.
On a team with weapons such as All-Ohio quarterback Connor Ashby and 6-foot-5 wide receiver Brock Henne, it’s Robinson who has arguably become the identity of Hoover with his hard running and versatility.
Not bad for a kid whose first sport is lacrosse (he’s going to Cleveland State to play it), a kid who just hadn’t played a major role on offense in football since middle school.
“The last time I touched (the ball) was North Canton Black, seventh grade football,” Robinson said with a smile. “So it feels great.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Robinson carried 29 times Friday and added three receptions for 25 yards.
“Going into the season we were approaching it as a back-by-committee,” Hoover head coach Brian Baum said. “He just kind of separated himself. He’s clicking with the O-line, and it helps when Connor stepped up in the second half and became the Connor we’re used to seeing. You combine that nice short passing game with the run game, and that’s good Hoover Viking football.”
Louisville head coach Troy Davis was left shaking his head after his Leopards (1-3) intercepted Ashby twice in the first half and went to the final 12 minutes tied with Hoover.
“Damn, we had 21-21 going into the fourth quarter,” Davis said. “It’s a blur.”
Hoover’s offense was a blur early.
Ashby hit on his first five passes, the last an 80-yard TD to Elliot Tornow that had Hoover up 14-0.
Louisville found something with Dan Kennedy running out of the wildcat. The senior ran for 108 of his 117 yards (on 17 carries) and both of his TDs in the first half as the Leopards fought their way out of the early hole.
Kennedy had carried four times all season entering the game.
“We waited until tonight. We wanted to surprise them,” Davis said of putting Kennedy in the wildcat. “He’s a talented kid. He looked like (former Louisville star) Drew Kuhn out there.”
Kennedy, who also plays safety, left the game with an injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return. The next play, Robinson busted loose on his 48-yard TD run to put Hoover in the lead.
“He cleans up a lot of plays for us and makes a lot of tackles,” Davis said of Kennedy.
With Louisville down 21-14, Zack Seaman picked off Ashby and set the Leopards up at their own 30 with 1:02 left in the first half. QB Tyler Jackson found Kennedy, Connor Adelman, AJ Lingenhoel and Broc Pickens on a drive that ended with Pickens catching a 2-yard TD pass with zeroes on the clock.
Louisville had the momentum and the ball coming out of halftime.
Louisville was shut out over the final two quarters and limited to 283 yards of offense overall.
Ashby was 16-of-22 passing for 226 yards, two touchdowns and the two picks. Henne caught five passes for 77 yards and a TD.
“We went into halftime and we said it was going to take a different team,” Robinson said. “You’ve got to decide whether you want to be good or great, and we decided. We came out in that second half and we were ready.”
As for those ACTs at 8 a.m.?
Said Robinson, “Hopefully, I don’t sleep in.”
Reach Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jweirREP