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Canfield ends season with victory

Sweeps Battle of 224, 29-14

November 3, 2016
By Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Though it hasn't been a historic season for the Canfield High School football team, it ended with a home victory over the Cardinals' archenemies - the Poland Bulldogs.

With nothing but pride to play for, the Cardinals creamed their crosstown rivals 29-14 Friday at home. It was Canfield's second straight win over its nemesis, giving the Cardinals a final record of 7-3 (3-1 in the All-American Conference).

Although the defending champions can't claim the conference crown again or enter the state playoffs, their head coach is still happy with his boys.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier
Canfield senior Jake Cummings (7) proudly displays the 2016 Battle of 224 trophy as the Cardinals team and fans celebrate Friday following the home game against the Bulldogs.

"It was a good performance," Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky said. "We played well."

Following a scoreless first quarter, Canfield finally commenced the night's scoring two minutes into the second stanza with a 5-yard touchdown run by Paul Brienz, making it 7-0 in favor of Canfield.

Right before halftime, quarterback Jake Cummings connected with receiver Matt Zaremski for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Dominic DiGiacomo ran in a two-point conversion, giving the Cardinals a 15-0 halftime lead.

Junior Vinnie Fiorenza started the third period with a sensational 46-yard touchdown run that stretched Canfield's advantage to 22-0. After the Bulldogs bounced into the end zone for the first time, Cummings concluded Canfield's scoring with a short touchdown plunge. The stellar senior signal caller ended his high school career with 93 yards on the ground.

"(Cummings) will be a hard one to replace," Pavlansky said.

Cummings is not the only teammate leaving Canfield at the end of the school year, a dozen other senior players suited up for the final time Friday. Although Pavlansky is disappointed he will not have the services of these sensational 13 seniors next fall, he was very excited that they went out on a winning note.

"I'm happy for the seniors," he said. "Especially since they beat our rival on our home field. We're losing some really good kids."

Some of the kids Pavlansky pointed out were Cummings, DiGiacomo and offensive linemen Mason Giordano, Carmen Zena and Kevin Soltis. The Canfield coach also cited defensive stars Ron Williams and Cody Holland, who had a pick in the Poland game, as a couple of kids who will be difficult to replace on that side of the ball.

Even with all of those young men putting on caps and gowns in the late spring, the Cardinals will still have a plethora of players returning with varsity experience.

"We have a good set of experienced skill players returning," Pavlansky said.

Fiorenza will have a great shot at taking over the quarterback job, and Zaremski will be a junior in 2017. Brienz will be Canfield's returning leading rusher. The cupboard is certainly not bare in Canfield.

Besides the season-ending victory over the Bulldogs, Canfield had signature wins over Alliance and Niles on the road and Boardman at home. A Week 9 shutout loss to Howland not only kept the Cardinals away from winning the All-American Conference for a second straight season, but it also prohibited them from making the playoffs.

With a few tweaks here and there next season, a return to the postseason will be something Pavlansky and his players certainly have in their sights.



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