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Golden Bears end Cardinal winning streak, Cards take 12-7 loss

October 17, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The amazing 18-game regular season winning streak orchestrated by the Canfield football team was bound to end, but when it did it was still shocking.

Canfield's boys were a few moments away from extending that streak to 19 against East last Friday night in Youngstown's Rayen Stadium. In fact they were 2:26 seconds away. That's when the revived Golden Bears began a 70-yard drive that finished in the end zone with 51 seconds left in the game. That score brought the Bears back from a 7-6 deficit and earned them an improbable 12-7 victory.

East's triumph was its most important since returning to the gridiron as it gave it the All American Conference Red Tier championship. Canfield's loss, while not threatening to its chances of making the postseason, may knock it out of the number one spot in its region of Division III.

Head coach Mike Pavlansky warned anyone who would listen last week that East had enough equal talent on both sides of the ball to eliminate the word upset from the discussion of this matchup. The Cardinal captain couldn't say enough good things about the Bears following the defeat.

"(East) is a really good team," said Pavlansky. "They are well coached and have great athletes. They are deserving of a league championship."

East's impressive defense minimized Canfield's rushing attack and made its passing game almost invisible. The only bright spot for the Cardinals was a 22-yard touchdown pass from Max Dawson to senior Carter Myers a couple seconds before halftime. Other than that chunk-yard touchdown, two turnovers and plenty of mistakes helped zap Canfield's sensational streak.

"We left opportunities on the field on offense," Pavlansky said. "We can't do that versus a good team like East or in the playoffs."

Usually, whenever the Cardinals offense is in a funk, their defense picks up the pieces. Canfield's "D" did play well against the speedy and powerful Bears, but broke down on that fantastic final drive. Quarterback Zane Cylar's 18-yard touchdown toss to win the game was his second relatively long one on the night. He finished with 178 yards passing and was the only real offensive weapon for either team. Coach Pavlansky was not pleased with how that game-clinching march culminated or how his team defended the pass.

"We gave up some big plays and (East) completed a couple of big passes," Pavlansky said. "We had too many big penalties too. There were also some mistakes by our coaches. These are things we'll need to fix going forward."

Certainly, Pavlansky would like to fast forward to this Friday night when Canfield entertains Howland at Bob Dove Field. The Tigers and Cardinals used to play some exciting contests that most of the time had the Red Tier title at stake. None of that will be in play this week because the Bears have already grabbed the league title belt and the Tigers are just 1-7 on the year. Howland is coming off a 28-6 loss to Niles and haven't shown much bite at all in 2018. About the biggest challenge for Pavlansky's kids should be how they bounce back from a grueling setback. It's something the Cardinals haven't had to do since Week 10 of the 2016 campaign. Canfield's coach doesn't think it'll be much of an issue.

"We need to trust the process," said Pavlansky. "Just because you lose doesn't mean you change everything. Our plan doesn't change. We need to correct our mistakes and play our game."

 
 

 

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