Hoover 35 - Akron Buchtel 21
August 19, 2022
Mason Ashby leads Hoover Football over Buchtel
Mike Popovich, Canton Repository
NORTH CANTON — No one should blame Mason Ashby if his eyes light up when a football approaches his hands.
The Hoover High School junior certainly can do some special things when he catches one.
Ashby caught two touchdown passes and ran the second-half kickoff back 99 yards for a score in Friday’s 35-21 win over Buchtel. He also had a 64-yard kickoff return on a night when he rolled up 235 all-purpose yards.
The sky’s the limit when a player as talented as Ashby touches a football. He knows he has a shot at the best possible outcome.
“You don’t normally see a kickoff return that far, but it didn’t surprise me. I’m used to his speed. I saw him break away and knew he was gone.”
The return Ashby did not score on also was important.
Hoover was nursing a 14-6 lead after a wild play. Buchtel fumbled while trying to run a jet sweep, but Griffins receiver Marcel Boyce Jr. scooped up the loose ball and ran 29 yards for a touchdown.
Ashby helped the Vikings quickly regain momentum when he returned the kickoff to the Buchtel 25. Five plays later, Ashby caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Dyrlund to make it 21-6.
The return almost ended before it started.
“I was thinking ‘Should I let it drop or should I catch it?'” Ashby said. “I was just going to let it drop, pick it up and see what I could do. I saw three guys coming at me. I cut left, cut back right and saw that field open.”
Ashby caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dyrlund earlier in the second quarter. He finished with four catches for 72 yards.
“He’s an electric football player,” Hoover head coach Brian Baum said. “Man, it’s fun to watch him get out there and do some of the things he can do. He made plays, and that’s good for us. We need guys to step up and continue to step up.”
Dyrlund threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Zach Braucher in the first quarter and finished 10-of-15 for 110 yards and three touchdowns. AJ Dolph also scored on an 8-yard run for the Vikings.
Buchtel quarterback Stevie Diamond threw a pair of TD passes to Zyaire Lewis and Xavier Wilson in the fourth quarter. Those made Ashby’s kickoff return for a touchdown look even bigger.
“Overall I like where we’re at, but we didn’t slam the door shut,” Baum said. “We can’t leave opportunities on the field. I don’t care who’s on the field. We have to play Hoover Viking football.”
HOOVER 35, BUCHTEL 21
Buchtel – 0 – 6 – 0 – 14 — 21
Hoover – 7 – 14 – 7 – 7 — 35
H—Braucher 24 pass from Dyrlund (Kish kick)
H —Ashby 15 pass from Dyrlund (Kish kick)
B —Boyce 29 run (Pass failed)
H —Ashby 8 pass from Dyrlund (Kish kick)
H —Ashby 99 kickoff return (Kish kick)
B —Lewis 21 pass from Diamond (Person kick)
H —Dolph 8 run (Koskovich kick)
B —Wilson 9 pass from Diamond (Coates pass from Diamond)
First downs 16 — 16
Rushes-Yards 22-75 — 42-156
Comp-Att-Int 18-28-1 — 10-15-0
Passing Yards 261 — 110
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 — 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 — 3-25
Total yards 336 — 266
Records 0-1 — 1-0
Source: Canton Repository