Hoover 21 - Uniontown Lake 19
October 8, 2021
Robby Smart’s late field goal helped the Hoover Vikings football defeat Lake
Cliff Hickman, Canton Repository
LAKE TWP — An unfamiliar stadium. Steady rain. A lively student section. An undefeated record in the Federal League on the line. To say the pressure was on Hoover senior kicker Robby Smart may be an understatement.
To make matters even more tense was the fact the the 25-yard field goal attempt wasn’t going to be taken from his preferred spot on the field. Add in that he missed a 47-yard attempt earlier in the quarter that also would have given the Vikings the lead, and there was a lot for Smart to think about.
“It wasn’t ideal in some ways,” Smart said. “We were going to take it from the right hash and that isn’t exactly my favorite place to take an attempt like that from. I was also worried because I chipped that last attempt short and to the right so I was worried about the same thing happening again.”
None of those factors made Viking head coach Brian Baum question the call to send Smart onto the field.
“He’s a reliable kicker,” Baum said. “I believe in him. That was well within his range. I wasn’t worried about the missed kick from earlier. He’s mentally tough.”
Smart proved Baum’s faith in him was well founded. After a couple of nervous seconds after the ball left his foot, the ball sailed through the uprights with 40 seconds to play to give Hoover a 21-19 win over rival Lake.
“It just snuck in,” Smart said. “I knew it was going to be close and I was worried it might be going right again. When I saw it go through, I was at a loss for words. The team played such a great game. It felt good to go out and contribute.”
The win set off a wild celebration from a vocal contingent of Hoover fans that made the trip.
“It was a relief when he made the kick,” Baum said. “I was real proud of our kids tonight. They never quit playing. We had to play four complete quarters to get this win. This is a tough place to play and Lake is always well coached. I was proud of how we sustained our effort tonight.”
It looked like it might not take four quarters to put the game away. Hoover held Lake to just one first down and recorded two safeties on the way to building an early 11-0 lead.
The Blue Streaks were hit with five false start penalties and snapped the ball over the head of the quarterback twice during the offensive sequences that led to safeties.
“It was ugly,” Lake head coach Dan DeGeorge said. “I told the team at halftime that I’ve been coaching 25 years and that may have been the ugliest stretch of football I had been associated with.”
Lake was hit with nine false start penalties on the evening.
“That was something I addressed with the officials privately,” DeGeorge said. “We had a conversation and I felt like that was less of an issue in the second quarter. I hadn’t had anything like that happen in a game before.”
Despite all that, the Blue Streaks still nearly won. Matthew Sollberger ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. Ty Miller also electrified the home crowd with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
The end result was another frustrating setback for Lake (4-3, 1-3). The Blue Streaks have had an opportunity to win in each of the last three weeks.
“To lose three in a row that you could have won hurts,” DeGeorge said. “The kids are hurting. The staff is hurting. I was proud of how we fought back tonight but we ended up just making too many mistakes.”
Hoover also got a good performance from running back Luke Roach. Roach ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He’s eclipsed 100 yards in all eight games this season.
“Our offensive line and Luke have jelled well,” Baum said. “They worked hard and looked good tonight.”
It’s not the only thing that looks good for Hoover.
With McKinley knocking off previously undefeated Jackson, the Vikings (6-2, 4-0) ended the night in sole possession of first place in the Federal League.
HOOVER 21, LAKE 19
Hoover- 9 – 9 – 0 – 3 — 21
Lake – 0 – 13 – 6 – 0 — 19
H-Roach 19 run (Smart kick), 7:49
H-Safety, Sullivan tackles runner in end zone after fumble recovery, 3:17
H-Safety, McKelley tackles runner in end zone after fumble recovery, 11:20
L-Sollberger 69 run (Abdul kick), 6:39
H-Roach 13 run (Smart kick), 1:56
L-Miller 99 kickoff return (run failed), 1:44
L-Sollberger 2 run (kick failed), 8:04
H-FG Smart 25, :40
HOO — LAKE
First downs: 19 — 6
Rushes-Yds: 52-206 — 29-146
Passing Yds: 38 — 60
Comp-Att-Int: 13-18-1 — 3-9-0
Punts-Avg.: 6-36.8 — 3-33.3
Fumbles-Lost: 1-0 — 5-1
Penalties-Yds: 5-32 — 13-90
Time of Poss.: 32:25 — 15:35
PASSING—Hoover, Dyrlund 13-18-99-1. Lake, Jarvis 3-9-92-0.
RUSHING—Hoover, Roach 27-139, Dyrlund 17-64, Logan 4-18, Griguolo 1-2, Ashby 2-(minus 4), TEAM 1-(minus 13). Lake, Sollberger 14-163, Jarvis 9-8, Baker 3-4, TEAM 3-(minus 29).
RECEIVING—Hoover, Ashby 7-49, Hackett 2-31, Baxter 2-19, Roach 2-0. Lake, Miller 2-29, Miller 1-61.
Records: Hoover 6-2, 4-0; Lake 4-3, 1-3.
Source: Canton Repository