Canfield's football team was able to score 105 points over the past two weeks as it won a pair of games in a row.
Last Friday night at home, the red-hot Redbirds were declawed by a superior Struthers defense. The result was an ugly 13-0 loss that dropped the Cardinals to 1-2 in the All American Conference and 2-6 overall.
According to Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky, the shutout loss to Struthers was a combination of bad execution by his offense and dominating play by the Wildcats' defense.
"We certainly took a step back offensively," said the coach over the phone. "(Struthers) is the best defensive team in the league for a reason."
The Wildcats were so wonderful on defense they held the usually potent Canfield rushing attack to fewer than 125 yards. Canfield quarterback Kimu Kim has had games this season in which he has eclipsed that mark by himself, but last Friday night the sensational senior was stopped at 77 yards by Struthers. Meanwhile, Kim was nonexistent in the passing game, completing just one pass for 3 yards and an interception. That misfire added to Canfield's misery all night.
"The turnover hurt," said Pavlansky. "We couldn't put anything together (on offense)."
Of course, it wasn't like the Wildcats were imitating the Oregon Ducks' offense either.
Sure, Struthers may have more than doubled Canfield in total yards, but both of the Wildcats' scores were direct results of costly Cardinal mistakes.
"(Struthers') first drive was from the 25 (yard line) due to bad punt coverage by us," Pavlansky explained angrily. "Their second one was from the 50 after an interception."
Besides those two scoring marches, the Wildcats were kept in check by a decent display by Canfield's defense.
"We played really well defensively," Pavlansky said. "It was a great defensive effort."
Coach Pavlansky hopes his team continues to do well on that side of the ball this week when his young club travels to Howland. The Tigers will enter this week's tilt 4-4 overall, but winless in the All American. Although this year's pack of Tigers are not as ferocious as the groups that terrorized the league in recent seasons, coach Pav warned his team that they are still formidable.
"(Howland) is a good team," Pavlansky admitted. "They have two guys in the backfield that can run. They are talented."
Howland was hammered last week by Niles 50-20 to finish the season winless on the road. Yes, that is the same Niles outfit that Canfield slammed 70 points on a few weeks ago. That stat doesn't deter Canfield's coach from having a headache as he prepares for Howland.
"Niles has been hanging points on everyone this year," said Pavlansky chuckling, "so that means nothing. (Howland) will play good defense. We need to do better offensively than we did last week for sure. We must control the line of scrimmage."
If the Cardinals want to come home from Howland with their third win in four games there are a couple of other things their coach believes they must also do.
"We only ran 36 plays last week so we can't leave our defense on the field that much again," Pavlansky said. "And we must do better in kick coverage."