A week after bouncing back from a seasoning opening loss with an inspiring win over Alliance, Canfield's football team was brought back to reality last Friday night on the road.
Canfield's kids drove down to Dover and were unceremoniously dumped 56-0 to fall to 1-2 on the young year.
The Tornadoes twisted the Cardinals early and often in front of the partisan Dover crowd. The home team scored just two minutes into the game then would add two more touchdowns before the first quarter ended. Three more Tornado touchdowns in the second quarter made the score 42-0 when the halftime gun sounded. In the week leading up to the clash, Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky was concerned with Dover's high-powered offensive attack and those worries were certainly warranted last week.
"(Dover) is an excellent team," muttered Pavlansky over the phone. "They were well prepared and we didn't play to their level."
Tornado quarterback Nathan Mammarella was marvelous all evening slicing the Canfield defense for 271 yards through the air and 121 more on the ground. He only missed on two pass attempts and totaled six touchdowns (five throwing and one running). Mammarella certainly proved he was the best player on the field last Friday night and coach Pavlansky paid him huge compliments.
"We knew he could run and throw," said Pavlansky. "We didn't take him away. We also couldn't take away their running game which opened things up (for Mammarella) in the passing game."
While Pavlansky was full of positive thoughts concerning his team's opponent, the longtime coach was not as kind when describing the play of his kids.
"There were no positives (coming out of the game)," said Pavlansky abruptly.
The statistics exemplify why Pavlansky was so displeased with the Cardinals. Canfield could only gain 159 yards of total offense in Dover and picked up just seven measly first downs while turning the ball over three times. Conversely, the Tornadoes whipped up nearly 550 yards of total offense and 17 first downs. Coach Pavlansky predicted that a strong running game would be needed by his bunch to help keep Mammarella and his offensive mates off the field, but the best the Cardinals could do was 44 yards rushing by quarterback Kimu Kim. Numbers like those is why Canfield's coaching staff will be laying the hammer down in practice as the Cards prepare for conference brother Beaver Local.
"We need to get back to basics," said Pavlansky before the Cardinals' first practice of the week. "We need competitive practices each day."
Getting back on the winning track against the Beavers may not be as easy as in years past. Beaver Local has an identical 1-2 record as Canfield and despite being shutout in its week 3 game at Jefferson, the Beavers can move the ball on the ground.
"(Beaver Local) comes in as a running team so we must stop the run better (than in the Dover game)," Pavlansky announced. "We will need our young guys up front to recognize what scheme they're in and get to the ball."
Defensively, the Beavers are a lot tougher. Take away their week 2 game against Crestview when they gave up 31 points and the Beavers' defense has only surrendered seven total points the rest of the season.
Despite the twin 1-2 records these two schools possess heading into week 4, each outfit has one agenda in mind as they kick off All American Red Tier action.
"We both have the same goal in front of us," said Pavlansky. "Both of us are looking to win a league title."
One may think that Canfield is a long way from claiming a conference crown, especially with the way it played in Dover. The silver lining to that large loss is that the Cardinals still have a lot of season left in front of them. That was not the case when a similar setback happened to Canfield a few years ago.
"The last time we lost a game like that was against Chaney in the last game of the season," Pavlansky reminisced. "We had nine months to think about that game. At least this time we only have seven days."