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Canfield Cardinals fall to Howland Tigers

September 25, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

During a 10-game football season, there is usually one game that makes people leave the stadium shaking their collective heads.

For fans of Canfield and Howland, that game happened last Friday night on Bob Dove Field.

The final score of Howland, 27, Canfield, 20, implied enough that it was a tightly contested battle.

How Howland held on for the victory, however, was what made headlines. The Cardinals led the Tigers 20-13 after three quarters. As has been the case in a lot of Canfield games dating back to last season, the Cardinals were not able to hold the advantage.

Howland stormed back with 14 unanswered points to take a 7-point lead with just under six minutes left in the game. At that point, each side took turns almost turning a terrific match into a farce.

Canfield blew the biggest chance when it failed twice at potentially tying the score in the final five minutes of the game. The first time occurred when the Cardinals botched a snap on a fourth and one attempt from inside Howland's red zone.

Following a three-and-out, the Tigers had a mishap with the punt snap that set the Cardinals up at Howland's 13-yard line. Without any time-outs remaining, Canfield was not able to punch the ball into the end zone. On Canfield's final try for a touchdown, quarterback Drew Rogers was run down in bounds as time expired.

''The kids kept playing hard,'' said Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky. ''Our kids made a big stop defensively on third down (to get the ball back). We had a chance to win in the fourth quarter and that's all you can ask for.''

Pavlansky's team had that chance because it was able to cut holes through the Howland defense using the running game. Luke Whittenberger and Rogers each had rushing touchdowns as Canfield corralled 260 yards on the ground.

Rogers, who took over the quarterbacking duties early in the night for the injured Aaron Jenkins, led the team in yards rushing with 135. There was no word on the extent of Jenkins injury at press time.

Canfield also got a pair of Brian Kristan field goals in the first half as it built its one score halftime lead. Unfortunately, turning that lead into a game-winning margin of victory always seems to elude these upstart Cardinals.

''We felt pretty good at halftime where we were,'' Pavlansky said. ''We need to learn to play an entire 48 minutes. We need to be more consistent.''

Canfield's club will attempt to find that consistency this week against a team that is not regularly on the Cardinals' schedule.

On Friday, the Cards host Sidney, which is a high school from the Dayton area. Sidney is 2-2 so far this season and closely resembles past Canfield opponents Alliance or Dover in style of play.

''(Sidney) is a big athletic team,'' Pavlansky said. ''They like to use the spread and pass the ball about 80 percent of the time.''

Pavlansky noted that the visitors will make their four-and-a-half-hour trip worthwhile as they will play the varsity game on Friday, the jayvee game Saturday morning and then tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the drive home.



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