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Cards take revenge for recent loss, beats Howland 53-7

October 24, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

After losing its first regular season game since Week 9 of 2016, the Canfield football team couldn't wait to get back on the field and take its frustrations out on someone.

That someone ended up being hapless 1-7 Howland. The Tigers traveled into Canfield last Friday and were treated about as rudely as a telemarketer calling during dinner hour. The Cardinals scored five first half touchdowns as they redirected their playoff bound ship in a 53-7 laugher. The win clinched a home playoff game for the 8-1 Cardinals, which marks the first time in school history that Canfield will host back-to-back Week 11 contests.

"I'm proud we secured a home playoff game two years in a row," said Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky. "It's special to be the first team in school history to do that."

Canfield's first points last Friday came via the foot of kicker Ian Kristan who booted a 39-yard field goal with 3:27 left in the first quarter. From that point on it was a touchdown fest for the fired up Redbirds. Sophomore Chris Sammarone shot through a hole and scored on a 21-yard run at the end of the first frame. A two-point conversion gave Canfield an 11-0 lead. The home team then scored four touchdowns in the second quarter led by two rushing scores by senior Colin Hritz.

Mehlyn Clinkscale and Max Dawson would also run for scores in the second stanza as the Cardinals went into the locker room at halftime with an insurmountable 39-7 advantage.

Sammarone would secure another score with a short 2-yard run in third quarter to make it 46-7. Junior Pedro Bellini had a sensational 84-yard interception return two minutes into the fourth period to get Canfield a "50 burger."

It was suspect how the Cardinals would react to losing for the first time in such a while. The offensive outburst (371 rushing yards) and defensive domination (only 80 yards each rushing and receiving for the Tigers) answered that question emphatically. Coach Pavlansky wasn't shocked by how his boys responded to their heartbreaking loss to Youngstown East in Week 8.

"I was never worried how our kids would bounce back," said the coach. "It was a new week, just like this week is a new week. We fixed some mistakes. I'm pleased with how we performed."

It was also impressive that the Cardinal kids didn't look past Howland to their Week 10 showdown with nemesis Poland. The battle with the Bulldogs is the biggest game of the year each season, but this year it may be a bit larger because it may be the final time for quite a while that these two schools meet on the gridiron. Poland will leave the All American Conference in 2019 and has not committed to scheduling Canfield as a non-conference opponent in any sport. Canfield's coach isn't making a big deal of that possibility, noting that nothing will get in the way of his team's focus.

"We're not even discussing that," said Pavlansky about the potential last meeting with Poland. "It's always a special week, but we need to concentrate on getting better from last week."

Pavlansky's pulverizing defense will need to contend with Poland's fourth year starting quarterback Cole Kosco. The 6-foot-3 senior is a gunslinger who can own a game offensively at times. He also has a pair of fantastic junior running backs to hand the ball to in Josh Alessi and Jake Rutana.

"(Poland) has a great quarterback and they are well coached," said Pavlansky. "They're fighting for their playoff lives so they'll be ready for us."

Indeed, thanks to a 17-0 loss to unbeaten Hubbard last weekend, the Bulldogs will step onto Bob Dove Field in playoff mode. They can't afford to be wiped out by the Cardinals like they were in Week 10 last year 38-0. In fact, Canfield has won three straight in this rivalry. If things play out as expected in 2019, a fourth win a row this Friday may be the final time the Cardinals get the better of the Bulldogs.



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