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Cardinals fail to stop Poland's running game

November 7, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

This year, rivals Canfield and Poland rekindled its annual fight for supremacy in the final week of the season.

Coincidentally, week 10 fell on Halloween night, adding a little extra spookiness to this backyard showdown.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals came to the game dressed up as high school football players, but the Bulldogs treated them more like grade school trick-or-treaters.

Article Photos

Photos by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier
The Cardinals charge onto Bob Dove Field Oct. 31 for the team's game against rival Poland.

Poland pumped up the running game rushing for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns while Canfield turned the ball over four times in a 28-7 Bulldogs' win.

Thanks to the victory, Poland punched its ticket to the playoffs. Canfield, on the other hand, ended its season 5-5 (2-3 in the All American Conference).

''We turned the ball over four times, and that's a recipe for disaster,'' said Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky.

Another part of that concoction that didn't taste good to the Cardinals was the disparity in rushing totals. Everyone on hand at Bob Dove Field knew both teams loved to run the football and, frankly, the Bulldogs did it better last Friday night.

Poland plastered Canfield 301 to 71 in total yards rushing. The Cardinals accumulated less than 100 yards of total offense, leaving Pavlansky grumbling.

''You need to be able to run the ball in a great rivalry game like this,'' said Pavlansky. ''We couldn't establish the run and we couldnt stop the run. You can't win this type of game that way.''

Failing to reach the playoffs was certainly disappointing to this Canfield group, but it was especially heartbreaking to the 22 seniors who played their final high school game against Poland.

Going out with a loss left Pavlansky the difficult task of saying goodbye to this large group on a sour note. He had nothing but praise for this plethora of young people.

''It was such a good group,'' Pavlansky said. ''They gave such great effort the last three years under tough circumstances. I couldn't ask for any more effort. The way they stuck with it was a credit to their work ethic. I wish we could have seen more wins for them.''

If Canfield is to gain more wins as a team in 2015, it will need the juniors and sophomores who learned so much from that gang of seniors to continue improving. Despite the large number of 12th-graders on Canfield's roster, plenty of underclassmen saw varsity action, giving Cardinal Nation some hope for the near future. Their coach believes in them as well, as long as they prepare in earnest before training camp starts.

''We have a great group of kids (returning),'' said Pavlansky. ''They'll need to put in the work in the weight room and follow the lead of (this year's) seniors.''



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