Nothing makes the Canfield leader lose his voice faster (which he did this past weekend) than shouting out in excitement whenever his offensive line mauls opposing defenses. There was a lot of mauling and subsequent shouting going on last Friday night at Bob Dove Field. Canfield’s offense racked up nearly 200 yards rushing against a Youngstown East defense that was only allowing 78 yards per game on the ground so far this season. Thanks to that rumbling running game, the Cardinals ran their record to 5-0 out of conference (5-1 overall) by beating East, 20-12.
“(Running the football well) is our goal each week,” said a horse, yet satisfied Pavlansky on Sunday night. “We leaned on our veteran offensive line all night.”
Behind bruisers such as Conner Hoelzel, Brian Benson, Jimmy Rousher, Tylor Rhoads, Alec Buchenic and Mark Blanco the Cardinals’ were able to move the ball steadily without having to risk many passes against East’s quick defensive secondary or against the cold, windy early fall weather. Jordan Italiano and Ben Angelo both weathered the Panthers tacklers by scoring rushing touchdowns for Canfield. It was an early rushing score by Bryce Jackson, however, that set the tempo for the rest of the evening for the home team.
Jackson scored on Canfield’s second play of the game thanks to a fumble recovery by Mike Ross deep inside East territory. Ross’ recovery may have put the Cardinals in easy scoring shape, but the game’s opening kickoff was just as important to Canfield’s cause according to Pavlansky.
“John Dellick had a great kick on the opening kickoff pinning (East) back,” said Pavlansky, “then two plays into the game we score thanks to a fine defensive play by Mike Ross. We made a lot of good plays on defense.”
Although Canfield held an eight-point advantage late in the fourth quarter, its defense would have to make a few more of those good plays before a victory would be secured. East got the ball back with a couple minutes left and moved the ball to midfield before finally running out of time. Allowing an opponent an opportunity to win the game in the closing seconds is something the Cardinals have done a lot of this year and it is annoying to their coach. One may automatically blame Canfield’s defense for those chances, but Pavlansky does not agree with that theory.
“You need to look to the offense because we have been giving the ball back (to the other team) late in games,” Pavlansky explained. “Championship teams run the clock out at the end.”
With time still on the clock for the Panthers, Pavlansky’s pals on his defense rose to the occasion.
“Our defense did a great job tackling and keeping (the Panthers) in bounds,” said Pavlansky. “We made the tackles all night and made sure that such a fast team did not hit any homeruns. The more you see speed like we have this year the better you’re tackling becomes.”
In week 7, Canfield’s defense will see more power than speed. The Cardinals travel to Beaver Local this Friday who is built a lot more like Canfield is than some of the speedy foes the Cards have faced this year.
“(Beaver Local) is pretty physical,” Pavlansky announced. “They are well coached and are familiar with us. It is always hard to play down there.”
The Beavers were pounded 41-7 by Howland last week and only have one win this year so a Canfield win could be anticlimactic. Still, coach Pav insisted his team is not taking the Beavers lightly.
“Our kids are not satisfied with 5-1,” Pavlansky said. “As far as we are concerned we have a long way to go this season and the season starts this Friday night.”
A Youngstown East player is unable to take down Ben Angelo of Canfield.