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Spartans dunk Irish in 38-14 blowout

October 17, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Boardman's football team celebrated its senior class last Friday night when it hosted upstart Ursuline.

Spartan Nation didn't want that special evening to end in disastrous fashion against the 1-7 Irish. The Boardman kids also needed to avoid overlooking the undermanned Irish with an enormous game looming against Austintown Fitch in Week 9. None of that bothered Boardman as it took care of business in a 38-14 blowout. The Spartans' record is now 5-3 and they should stay in playoff position in the weekly polls. The recent computer rankings had Boardman situated in sixth place in Division II, Region 5, which makes it playoff eligible.

"It was a good game to honor our seniors," said coach Joe Ignazio. "They won their last game at home."

The elimination of the Irish last Friday also completed a clean sweep for this Spartan senior class over Ursuline. Ignazio's club came into the contest wanting to leave little doubt of that happening. It only took a minute and a half of game time for Boardman to bend the scoreboard. Quarterback Mike O'Horo would run in from three yards away to stake the Spartans to a 7-0 lead. About 10 minutes later, O'Horo would contribute again, this time through the air. The senior slinger would connect with Nate Thompson on a 27-yard touchdown pass to up the Spartans' lead to 14-0.

Ursuline, aided by a Boardman roughing the kicker penalty on a punt, was able to stay in the game and score early in the second stanza to cut its deficit in half. Another TD plunge by O'Horo and a Tommy Fryda 26-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer pushed Boardman's lead out to 24-7. Coach Ignazio was cognizant just how important those two scores prior to intermission helped ice the game for his group.

"Our kids did a great job of responding (to Ursuline's score)," Ignazio said.

Running back Josh Rodriguez highlighted the second half for the Spartans' offense with two short touchdown runs. Those scoring drives were made possible by Boardman's defense, which put the clamps on Ursuline's offense following a mediocre first half. Senior Tino Arcuri paced the defense with a pair of sacks.

"We controlled the line of scrimmage all night on both sides, but really turned it up on defense (in the second half)," Ignazio said. "Our line was really physical. They are really fun to coach when they play up to their capabilities. (When they do that) they can play with anybody."

The task this week is to play ferociously enough to slow down a Fitch offense that has rung up 160 points in its six wins. Fitch's only two setbacks this season were at the hands of Warren Harding and Massillon Washington who have combined to go 14-2 so far this year. A colossal win came over All American Conference Red Tier champion Youngstown East who just ended Canfield's 18 game regular season winning streak in Week 8. The Falcons are fast on both sides of the ball so that will also pose a problem to the Spartans.

The Boardman bunch will be attempting to snap a two game losing streak to Fitch. It's last victory over the Falcons came in 2015, which was a 10-3 triumph at home. According to Coach Ignazio, the Spartans haven't left Austintown with a win since at least the 2001 campaign. He'll make sure his boys are aware of that all week in practice.

"It's been a while since we've been able (to beat Fitch in Austintown)," said Ignazio. "The challenge for this Fitch game is to win on the road."



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