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Cards stay on track after slaying the Dragons

September 19, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

A Week 4 visit to Ashtabula Lakeside had Canfield head football coach Mike Pavlansky feeling anxious.

Nobody in their right mind actually expected lowly Lakeside to upset the Cardinals, but Pavlansky warned in the week ahead of this contest that these are the types of games that can derail a team's season. Relax coach; your locomotive of a program is still steaming down the tracks.

Canfield scored five of the game's first six touchdowns and easily dumped the Dragons 47-20 to stay unbeaten in 2018.

"We had a good trip up there," said Pavlansky last Saturday.

Matt Zaremski, Canfield's super senior, started his team's scoring with a 14-yard touchdown reception seven minutes into the matchup. He would later add another touchdown catch and a fourth quarter 55-yard interception return for a score. Zaremski was a force on both sides of the field snagging six balls for 33 yards and three total touchdowns.

"(Zaremski) is a special athlete and a great kid," Pavlansky said. "He's really talented at wide receiver and defensive back. He always plays hard and gets his teammates to play hard."

While Zaremski was putting the longtime coach's mind at ease, Pavlansky's earlier concerns almost came to light after his receiver's first score. On Lakeside's ensuing possession, it answered with a nifty touchdown march of its own. Instead of tying the game with an extra point, the Dragons unexpectedly went for a two-point conversion and were successful. The home team held a surprising 8-7 lead after the first quarter.

"(Lakeside) had a nice drive and two-point play that we the coaches weren't prepared for," said Pavlansky. "Just because a team scores doesn't mean you throw your hands up and give up."

Pavlansky's kids indeed didn't give up. Quarterback Max Dawson bookended Zaremski's second touchdown with TD runs of 8 and 3 yards. Those tallies gave Canfield three straight scores after Lakeside got a little salty. It continued a trend that Coach Pavlansky has enjoyed since Week 1.

"All year when the other team scored we've stepped up and scored," said the Canfield boss proudly.

Mehlyn Clinkscale would make it four consecutive touchdowns for Canfield when he plunged in from 2-yards away at the 5:17 mark of the third period. Nick Crawford would also find the end zone before the night ended allowing the Cardinals to comfortably come back to Canfield with another win.

It was nice to see the Cardinals catch fire and douse the fire of the Dragons as the game dragged on, but the inability to pile up points early still has Pavlansky dumbfounded.

"We got off to a slow start again so we still have to get that figured out," he said. "We went into the two minute drill at the end of the first half and scored then scored on our first two drives of the third quarter, but we have to fix (the slow start on offense). Especially versus the teams we still have to play with winning records."

One of those teams is this week's opponent Struthers. The Wildcats are 3-1 thanks to their 48-14 beat down of Jefferson last Friday night. In that game, quarterback J.D. Hall had 245 yards passing and four touchdowns. His passing prowess has Pavlansky worried again.

"(Struthers) always wants to run the ball first, but this year they can throw the ball with Hall too" he noted. "They average about 250 passing yards per game. They can put points on the board."

Struthers didn't put nearly enough points on the board against the Canfield kids last fall in a 34-12 setback. That game, however, was not indicative on just how evenly matched these schools have been lately. It's a fact not lost on the Redbirds.

"The last six games we're 3-3," said Pavlansky, "So this series has been a good one."



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