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The Cardinals run visitors back to Dayton

October 2, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

It is no secret how much Canfield head football coach Mike Pavlansky loves to run the football.

If it were up to the cagey Canfield captain he would eschew passing permanently and just have his quarterback turn around and hand the ball to one of a bevy of backs for 48 minutes. That is almost what the Cardinals were able to do last Friday in a home game against Sidney.

Canfield gushed the visitors from the Dayton area to the tune of 510 yards on the ground in a 49-28 rout. In the process, the Cardinals got rushing touchdowns from four different players, making Pavlansky even more ecstatic.

''We were able to spread the ball around,'' said Pavlanksy. ''It shows we don't have to just count on one or two guys to get the job done.''

Early in the game, the guys Canfield counted on the most were on the defensive side of the ball. While the Cardinals' offense was struggling to get their motor churning, it was the ''D'' that had to come up big.

Sidney scored one first quarter touchdown, but that's all Canfields defense would give up. Meanwhile, the offense moved the ball, but shot itself in the foot.

''We made a mistake inside the 30-yard line,'' Pavlansky said, ''that slowed us down. Otherwise, the first quarter was not a real bad quarter for us.''

Things became much better for the Canfield club in the second quarter. Jake Cummings capped a nice drive with a 15-yard touchdown run one minute into the period to tie the game at 7-7.

From that point it seemed as if the Cardinals were running down hill. Dylan Kuhn cruised into the end zone three minutes later to make it 14-7 Canfield. Cummings scored again on a 1-yard plunge four minutes after that, and then Luke Whittenberger finished off the first half fireworks with a 5-yard scoring run that put the Cardinals in front 28-7 at intermission.

''We found our comfort zone (in the second quarter),'' Pavlansky said.

The Cardinals got even more comfy with that huge lead. The third quarter started the same way the second quarter ended, with Whittenberger making his way into the end zone. This time it was a spectacular 60-yard run by the senior just seconds into the second half that gave Canfield an insurmountable 35-7 advantage.

Later in the game, junior C.J. Frost got into the action with a 40-yard touchdown run to put the game on ice on the warm early autumn evening. None of the impressive rushing totals would have been possible for Canfield without another solid night by the boys who do the blocking.

''Anytime you rack up over 500 yards rushing you have to give the offensive line credit,'' said Pavlansky. All five guys up front played their second great game in a row.''

The Yellow Jackets were stingless from the second quarter until the end, thanks to a Canfield defense that bent slightly but never really broke. Sidney was able to pass the ball somewhat effectively, but a huge highlight for Canfield's defensive unit came in the third quarter when junior Andrew Hallof hauled in an interception and returned it 35-yards for a score.

Stingy defense will be needed again this week when the Cardinals travel to speedy Youngstown East. This will mark the first time Canfield plays on East's home turf, and another difference will be the 2 p.m. Saturday starting time. That oddity had Pavlansky seeking the advice of others who have been in that same predicament.

''I talked to different coaches on how to approach (the Saturday afternoon game),'' Pavlansky said. ''We decided the best way to go is to just move everything back one day this week.''

Once again, Pavlansky will look to take football back to the dark ages (or at least the nineties) by running the pigskin a ton. That strategy is doubly important against the Panthers because it'll be wise to keep this athletic offense off the field.

''(East) is well-coached and are always put in a good position to succeed,'' Pavlansky said. ''Don't let their (1-4) record fool you, they've played a brutal schedule and were beaten one game by a 55-yard field goal. We know how fast they are and we'll have to play another great game defensively to win.''



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