Quarterback Nate Szep set a school record for passing yardage against Boardman, as the Spartans bowed, 47-27.
By BOB ROTH
LAKEWOOD -- Saturday night at Lakewood High Stadium, in a rivalry that has become consistent with great play, the Cleveland St. Ignatius Wildcats hit the Boardman High Spartans with some early lightning in their air game.
The lightning was Nate Szep, a 6-foot-3 215-pound senior quarterback, who set a school record for passing yardage as St. Ignatius hit the air waves for a 47-27 win for a 2-0 record.
Szep passed for 357 yards on 20-for-29 and five touchdowns, including the first two of the game to Tony Gonzalez covering 80 and 29 yards.
John Van Der Oord also paced the Wildcats with three TDs, one on a 7-yard pass from Szep and two on runs of 1 yard and 2 yards.
Beard stars: Boardman (1-1) was led by Evan Beard and quarterback Tom Zetts. Beard rushed for 206 yards in 24 carries and two TDs covering 73 and 8 yards, while Zetts threw for 124 yards on 9-for-26 and two TDs, but was intercepted four times.
Zetts' TD strikes were to Mike Villagrana for 8 yards and Mike Finamore covering 26 yards.
Szep credited his receivers for his performance.
"I couldn't do anything if it weren't for a great group of seniors, specifically Matt Miller and Gonzalez," he said.
Szep hit Miller with a 31-yard TD pass, and Tom Christy with a 16-yard scoring strike.
Came in ready: Coach Chuck Kyle of St. Ignatius said Szep was prepared to play.
"Nathan just came into his own tonight. As the game went on he took control. He gained a lot of confidence and he did exactly what he wanted to do."
Coach Garry Smith of Boardman said his team didn't give up.
"We played hard and never gave up against a great and powerful opponent. There was no quit from any kid on either side of the ball."
Smith had high praise for Beard. "I [don't] know of many backs that have done this in Ohio, but Beard [has] had three consecutive 100-yard games against Ignatius, and this is a credit to this young man."
Cites blockers: Beard cited his blockers against a good defense.
"Their four linebackers are collectively the best in the state, [but] our guys up front pushed them around."
Beard lauded tackles Steve Vallos and John Greco, center Kevin Tuminello and tight end Villagrana. "These guys did a job of pancaking their people up front, and I benefited from that."
Boardman rushed for 222 yards in 33 attempts to St. Ignatius' 138 yards in 37 carries, but behind Szep the Wildcats enjoyed a 24-16 first-down advantage. They also had 495 total yards to the Spartans' 346.