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Bulldogs beaten by Boardman at home

September 11, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The last time Poland played Boardman in a football game was 2014.

Considering what happened when those two schools reunited on the gridiron last Friday night in Poland, the Bulldogs may wish to wait another five years before squaring off with the Spartans again. Poland played a steady first half then was shutout after halftime as Boardman prevailed 27-14. According to Poland head coach Ryan Williams, the main culprit to his team's second half demise were self-inflicted wounds.

"Turnovers and penalties are drive killers and momentum swingers," said Williams last weekend.

Article Photos

Photos by Mike Audi, Town Crier
Poland's junior wide-receiver Andrew Centofanti races by the Boardman defense at last Friday's home game. Centofanti leads the Dogs receiving core with 57 yards coming from 3 catches.

Williams' boys had two second half turnovers and numerous infractions. Those errors eliminated all of the good things they did before halftime. In fact, Poland pushed ahead in the first quarter thanks to a turnover its defense forced. Senior Mike Voitus intercepted a Spartans' pass killing a nice Boardman drive. Eleven plays after Voitus' pick, Poland hit pay dirt. That touchdown was courtesy of senior running back Jake Rutana from eight yards away. Rutana would lead the Bulldogs' first half rushing attack and end the game with 38 yards on 10 carries.

Following Rutana's run, the Spartans were able to tie the game at seven apiece. That score was set up by a long kick return. The game remained tied into the second quarter when Poland took the lead back. This time it was Rutana's running mate Josh Alessi who did the honors. The senior's 5-yard scoring run gave the home team a 14-7 lead. A major play before that touchdown was a 34-yard completion from Poland quarterback Brody Todd to six-foot-one junior receiver Andrew Centofanti. A personal foul on Boardman added 15-yards to that long connection. Unfortunately, those would be the final points Poland would score the rest of the evening. A touchdown and a field goal gave Boardman a 17-14 halftime lead. The Spartans then outscored the Bulldogs 13-0 in quarters three and four. Poland played almost half of that second half without Todd behind center. The junior slinger suffered an injury midway through the third period which put Poland's comeback plans in peril. As of last Saturday afternoon, Williams had very few details on Todd's availability for Week 3.

"Not sure about it yet," Williams said via text. "It is something with his abdominal."

If Todd isn't ready for Poland's next game against Howland it may cause some serious stomach pains. Even though the Tigers are currently 0-2 they possess the ability to move the football through the air. Howland was edged 22-16 in overtime by Hubbard a week ago. It also was outscored 35-21 by Niles in its season opener. Poland plastered Howland 34-0 in last year's battle between the two rivals. The Bulldogs haven't lost to the Tigers since 2016's 35-34 heartbreaker at home. Despite the bad loss to Boardman, Williams was still impressed with the Poland kids' performance. He believes that's the type of effort that will gain his group many more wins than losses this season.

"I'm proud of how we battled against a Division II football team," said the coach. "(Boardman) has a good program with good coaching and tough kids. We should continue to improve."



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