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Spartans cool Dragon’s flame after 55-6 win

October 31, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Boardman's football team entered its Week 10 contest at Ashtabula Lakeside with two goals in mind.

The first one was to establish its advantage in talent early against the 2-7 Dragons. The second was to win the game and clinch the school's first ever back-to-back playoff appearance. Both plans were carried out perfectly by the Spartans. The Boardman boys scored four times in the first quarter and three more times in the second to build an insurmountable 48-0 halftime lead. Head coach Joe Ignazio was able to rest his starters in the second half as the Spartans cruised to a 55-6 victory. The coach was also able to start game planning for a second straight Week 11 contest. The pleasure the coach will take in that chore can be attributed to his sensational group of Spartans.

"Our kids are special and deserve everything that comes with achieving this goal," said Ignazio. "Winning is never easy. It is very hard and they have been very consistent doing it."

Another thing the Spartans were consistent at doing is scoring against the overmatched Dragon defense. It took less than four minutes for Boardman to break the goal line. That came on its opening drive of the night and culminated with a 1-yard Joe Ieraci touchdown plunge. Boardman's next two scores came about two minutes apart and were courtesy of Mike O'Horo passes. The senior's first toss went 10 yards to Kareem Hamden. The next one was a 17-yarder to Connor Miller. Nate Thompson would conclude the quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run. Before anyone could barely blink it was 27-0 Spartans at the end of the first frame. Coach Ignazio could have probably sat his starters as early as the second period, but he knew there was now going to be a playoff game in his team's future so he got them a little more practice. Ieraci would match his earlier score with a 4-yarder to start the second stanza. Miller would again be on the receiving end of an O'Horo touchdown pass. Josh Rodriguez would slide into the end zone from the 1-yard line a couple moments before halftime to put the icing on a demoralizing first half for the Dragons.

The local kids would amass 266 yards rushing led by Thompson's 121. O'Horo would throw for 139 and three scores. Miller made mincemeat out of Lakeside's secondary hauling in five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. It all added up to another playoff birth for Boardman.

"They have found a way to get in and now anything can happen," said Ignazio. "We'll have to go on the road so it will be tough."

That road game will take place this Friday night at Maple Heights. The Mustangs will pose quite the challenge to Ignazio and his staff because they are unbeaten and explosive. Maple Heights started the season with three wins by a combined score of 121-9. It then scored more than half of that total in a 70-11 Week 4 blowout of Cleveland North. Amazingly, 28 was the lowest output all season for the Mustangs' offense. They totaled 429 points for the season while allowing just 127 proving their defense can be as dominant as their offense. A lot of those points surrendered came in garbage time as well.

Due to the proximity of Maple Heights to the Cleveland area there are not any like opponents between it and the Spartans. That'll make some of the scouting harder for Ignazio and his group of coaches. Regardless, the coach knows it will be an uphill battle for his players this weekend against the Mustangs.

"It'll be tough, but we'll do our best," said Ignazio.

 
 

 

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