It was 11 games and over one calendar year between wins for the Canfield football team before it captured its double-overtime victory over Niles in week six.
After week seven's home game against Youngstown East, perhaps winning is once again becoming a habit in Canfield. The Cardinals corralled their second victory in a row with a 35-0 rout of the 1-6 Panthers. While the win on Oct. 4 at Niles was exciting and one for the record books, the way the Cardinals went about their business last Friday night on Bob Dove Field was much more suited to their coach's tastes.
"We ran the ball well and our defense executed really well," said head coach Mike Pavlansky. "That's not different than what we have tried to do all year. We just did it well."
Photos by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier correspondent
Canfield quarterback Kimu Kim finds a hole on the way to end zone as defense provides protection.
Pavlansky's boys did so well last Friday night that it held a 404-16 advantage in total yards. East could only earn two first downs all game and its quarterback was harassed by the much quicker Canfield defense. In fact, Cardinal senior defensive lineman Alec Heldreth hindered any Panther passing plans by recording a school record 3 sacks.
"(Heldreth) had a remarkable game," said Pavlansky, "but he had a lot of help getting to the quarterback. Our defense was fundamentally sound. Anytime you hold a fast East team to 0 points you did a great job. It was a total team effort."
Senior quarterback Kimu Kim was a one-man team in Canfield's week six win, but the Cardinals' offense was slightly more balanced versus the Panthers. Kimu still killed East with more than 160 yards rushing, but after scoring a record nine touchdowns on Oct. 4, he settled for a more pedestrian two TDs a week later (although one was a fancy 50-yard jaunt). In fact, Kim was more of a decoy on Canfield's first score of the game a couple minutes into the contest. Kim handed the ball to flanker Aaron Jenkins on a reverse then happily watched as Jenkins rifled the ball 69-yards to Drew Rogers for a 7-0 lead. Rogers would also later score on a 16-yard run. Canfield capped its nearly perfect offensive night when junior Dylan Kuhn corkscrewed himself into the end zone from one yard out midway through the fourth period.
"I'm very happy with the way our offense performed," said Pavlansky. "Nothing has changed. These kids come to work everyday and work hard. They executed better this week than at anytime all season."
The Canfield kids will attempt to make it three wins in a row this Friday, but it won't be easy because they must host 5-2 Struthers. The Wildcats are coming off a 47-7 blasting of Beaver Local last week and their only two setbacks are to the two kings of the All American Conference.
"(Struthers') only two losses are to Poland and Hubbard," explained Pavlansky. "They are well coached and you can tell by watching them how far they have come the last couple of years."
The Wildcats have come so far they are in line for a playoff position this season. For that to happen the Cats can't fall flat to the Cards.
"(Struthers) is shooting for a playoff birth so this game is very important to them," Pavlansky warned. "They will not take us lightly."
Light is a word that cannot be used to describe Struthers' stout front defensive seven. That is why coach Pavlansky will be counting on Kim and his running mates to use their speed to control the ball and pave their path to pay dirt.
"We need to find a way to run against a good defense," said the coach. "We will have to run to be successful."