Boardman head football coach Joe Ignazio has tasted victory for the first time in his young coaching career.
More importantly, Ignazio's upstart Spartans earned their first win of the season as well. Boardman crept by Massillon Perry 7-0 on Friday, Oct. 4 in Massillon, to garner its initial win both overall and inside the Federal League. Perry, on the other hand, watched its losing streak to start the season ascend to six. It was not a thing of beauty last Friday night during this Federal League fight, but sometimes beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
"A win is a win," said Ignazio last weekend. "The kids have been showing up and fighting every week and not quitting. It feels good."
It really felt good for the Spartans' super set of seniors who have had to endure two coaching changes and a lean couple of seasons prior to the ends to their high school playing careers. Coach Ignazio made sure to allude to that group's fortitude when discussing his team's first victory.
"I'm sure the seniors don't feel like they're my players," said Ignazio, "but I chose not to go with a youth movement. I stuck with these kids because they are a good group."
The Spartans as a whole did a good job moving the ball against the Panthers last Friday mostly using their rushing attack. Boardman held nearly a two-to-one margin in total yards over the home team with 195 of those coming via the ground. If it wasn't for a couple of unforced errors by the Spartans the final score may have even looked more impressive than 7-0.
"We moved the ball well, but had too many penalties," Ignazio complained. "We had over 100 yards in penalties and lost a fumble that killed a drive. I think the kids did a good job adjusting to the things we changed during the game. They are progressing and that is a good thing to see."
Ignazio's boys will look to progress even more this week when they host another Federal League brother in North Canton Hoover for homecoming. Boardman leads the all time series with the Vikings 7-3 and should have a decent shot at capturing win number eight because Hoover is struggling with an identical 1-5 record. That mark, however, doesn't concern coach Ignazio.
"(Hoover's) record doesn't indicate the type of team they have," warned the coach. "They've had some kids injured, but some of those kids are coming back now. We expect a good battle."
Hoover lost its road battle last Friday at Uniontown Lake, 26-14. Certainly the Vikings left that encounter with frowns on their faces. The Spartans, conversely, left Massillon showing some much better emotions.
"It was so good to see some smiles on our kids' faces," Ignazio said smiling himself.