One week ago, Canfield head football coach Mike Pavlansky was displeased because his club could not close out a win in the fourth quarter.
Canfield was caught at the end of that final frame, blew a lead and lost by three points to Alliance. What happened this week at home against Dover didn't leave coach Pavlansky very chipper either. Despite holding a 24-19 advantage over the visitors at halftime, the Cardinals couldn't close again in the second half. Dover dashed to 34 unanswered points after intermission to declaw the Cardinals 53-24. For the first time in a long while, Canfield has started the season 0-3. If games lasted less than 48 minutes perhaps the Cardinals would be 3-0.
"We shot ourselves in the foot in the second half," said a glum Pavlansky over the phone. "We had two plays then a punt then we had three turnovers in seven plays. You can't turn the ball over like that against a team as good as Dover."
Meanwhile, the Tornados were tearing up the turf on Bob Dove Field with five straight second half scores. Overall, Dover diced Canfield's defense for nearly 550 yards of total offense.
Most of the offense in quarters one and two was coming from the team with the bird on the side of its helmets. Down 6-0, the Cardinals got a first quarter three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kimu Kim to make it 7-6. Canfield would then score three times in a row in the second quarter. Rock solid kicker Bryan Kristan connected on a 42-yard field goal to make it 10-6 Canfield early in the period. After Dover regained the lead, the Cardinals charged ahead on a Kim to Aaron Jenkins 57-yard touchdown bomb and a Drew Rogers fumble recovery in the Tornado end zone. Kim ran the ball 24 times for 190 yards as the Cardinals racked up almost 300 yards on the ground. The reason for that nice number was the fantastic early game performance of Canfield's front five.
"Our offensive line controlled (Dover's) defensive line," said Pavlansky. "We scored four times (in the first half) and we had things going our way. Our defense was playing well, too. We just couldn't sustain that in the second half."
Pavlansky's kids will get another opportunity to put four quarters together again this Friday at home. The problem is this week's foe is another high-octane, unbeaten outfit in 3-0 Akron Ellet. All the Orangemen did in week 3 is blow away Alliance, 41-6. Yes, the same Alliance that edged Canfield in week 2.
"(Ellet) is an excellent team," Pavlansky acknowledged. "They are a Division II playoff team. In fact, this will be the first of three straight games against playoff teams from last year (Poland and Niles are the other two)."
Besides last week's annihilation of Alliance, the Orangemen squeezed out 72 points in their first two games so Canfield's defense will certainly be challenged Although the Cardinals have started this season slowly they refuse to wallow. Coach Pavlansky is very cognizant that none of these upcoming opponents will take it easy on them either.
"We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves and nobody will feel sorry for us," the coach claimed. "We need to concentrate on ourselves and correct our mistakes. If we worry about other things, we're not going to go where we want to go."
For now, the place the Cardinals want to go the most is into the locker room after the fourth quarter with more points than the other team. The only way to accomplish that is by staying strong as a team until that final gun sounds.