Canfield’s football team entered its week 7 game at Beaver Local winners of five out of six games.
All of those five victories, however, came outside the All American Red Tier with the team’s only loss being at the hands of league favorite Howland in week 4. The Cardinals needed a win inside the Red Tier to remain a contender for at least a share of the league crown. Canfield blasted the Beavers 34-14 to pull to 1-1 in the Red Tier. The win may have come against constantly rebuilding Beaver Local, but it was important to the psyche of the squad.
“It was an important game for us to win because it was important for Beaver Local to win,” explained Pavlansky. “We knew how much they wanted this game so our seniors did a tremendous job getting everyone up (for the game).”
One of those senior players who was up all night was running back Ben Angelo. Angelo only toted the rock ten times, but he scored on a third of those carries. He beat up the Beavers for 129 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, yet his most helpful score all night was the one he caught out of the air. Early in the game, Angelo grabbed a screen pass from quarterback Mike Hughes and rambled 48-yards to the end zone.
“The bubble screen to Benny got us going,” said Pavlansky. “(Angelo) did a great job all game.”
Also doing a great job was Hughes who started in place of the injured Jordan Italiano. Hughes was efficient hitting on six of 11 throws for 136 yards including that touchdown to Angelo. Jimmy Rousher was on the receiving end on a lot of Hughes’ throws corralling three passes for 77 yards. Needless to say this Mike Pavlansky coached team did not toss the pigskin 30 times, but it did enough passing to put the Beavers behind the eight ball.
“We got their people to back off the ball with our passing,” Pavlansky noted. “We know we have kids that can pass and catch the football and we use them when we need to.”
Although the injury to Italiano is considered minor and he should return this Friday (as will four other Cardinal starters who were absent), Pavlansky is comfortable having Hughes behind center.
“(Hughes) did a tremendous job in his first start,” said the coach. “He controlled the game well. We always believe we can throw when we have to.”
Canfield should be running more than its throwing this week when it welcomes Canal Fulton Northwest to town. The Cardinals will lean heavily on the ground attack because the 5-2 Indians can put points on the scoreboard in a hurry. Canal Fulton has scored well over 200 points this year and have been in the forties four times so the Cardinals will try to play keep away as much as possible.
“We need to sustain drives and keep their offense off the field,” Pavlansky said. “If we put the ball in their hands too much it can hurt us.”
Two Indians that have been hurting opponents a lot in 2011 have been quarterback Nick Riley and running back Ronnie Beers. Those two seniors were a huge reason why the Indians are coming off a 21-14 win over Columbus St. Charles. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 220-pound Riley threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns last week and the brilliant Beers ran 17 times for 142 yards and a touchdown and caught eight balls for another 77 yards and a score.
“(Canal Fulton) has a great running game with Beers,” Pavlansky said. “Their offense is a lot like Dover’s except they have such a great running game. We will have our work cut out for us.”
Canal Fulton has made the playoffs 12 out of 13 years so as has been the case most of this season the Cardinals will be up for a huge test this week. Of course, Canfield is used to making the playoffs too and that is exactly where it will be headed if it can continue to play so well out of conference.