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Spartans fall to Canfield in Friday nail-biter

October 3, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Boardman's football team needed to play a nearly perfect game if it was going to stop the 16-game regular season winning streak of the Canfield Cardinals.

Instead of doing that, the Boardman boys came out flat and error prone last Friday night in Canfield as they fell behind 14-0. Although the Spartans staged a comeback in the second half, the mighty Cardinals would not totally blow their big lead. Boardman was beaten by its rival 21-14 to drop its record to 4-2.

"We played our worst half of football to date," said Boardman head coach Joe Ignazio about those fateful first two periods. "We didn't wake up until about two minutes left in the first half. It's very frustrating to know you are a good football team, but didn't play like it."

Article Photos

Photos by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier
Boardman sophomore Ty Ventresco sets the ball during action against Canfield Friday night Sept. 28.

The Cardinals are a good football team. In fact, they are a great football team and they played like it over the first 24 minutes. A Canfield touchdown in the first quarter and another midway through the second staked the number one team in Division III Region 9 to a 14-0 lead. The Spartans showed some signs of life when they moved the ball down the field right before halftime, but that drive stalled without success.

"We missed several assignments early in the game that put us behind," Ignazio said. "Too many mistakes."

The second half was totally different for the Spartans. Ignazio decided to up the Spartans' temp in the third quarter and that pace helped them get on the scoreboard a little more than four minutes into the half. Quarterback Mike O'Horo slithered in from two yards out to cut Canfield's lead in half. Boardman also tallied the fourth quarter's first touchdown when O'Horo threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Che Trevena. Tommy Fryda's extra point unbelievably knotted the score with 7:37 remaining in the game. As badly as Boardman played in the first half, it somehow was still in position to slay the unbeaten beast.

"I thought we did a better job coming out in the second half and we put ourselves in a position to tie the game," said Ignazio.

Shortly after the game-tying score, Boardman was able to get the ball back. Unfortunately for Spartan Nation, disaster was about to happen. On what could've been the potential game-winning drive, O'Horo dropped back to pass and was pressured and hit by Canfield's Colin Hritz. The senior's throw landed in the hands of the Cardinals' Mehlyn Clinkscale who returned it 15-yards for a touchdown. That would be the final touchdown of the game.

"We needed to score at that point in the game," Ignazio said dejectedly. "The pick six was a killer."

On the bright side, the Spartans stood toe to toe with the top ranked Cardinals after seemingly headed for a blowout loss. It'll be brighter in Boardman if the kids can bounce back with a big win at Warren Harding this Friday night.

"Good football teams respond," said Ignazio. "(Good teams) don't lose two weeks in a row."

Harding hasn't lost two in a row this year, but did lose two of its first three. Those setbacks were to state powers Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington, however, so Boardman must beware of this strong Raider outfit. Coach Ignazio is using this week's contest as measuring stick for how the final few weeks may play out.

"We'll see what we are after this week," he said.

Ignazio's club handled Harding 28-21 a year ago, but the Raiders weren't hitting on all cylinders at that time. The Spartans must stop sensational senior running back Kayron Adams who torched Ashtabula Lakeside last Friday for a pair of touchdowns in Harding's 50-8 victory. Adams also fried Fitch for four scores in a convincing 49-14 demolition of the Falcons in Week 4.



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