By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- For the first three weeks of the season, the Boardman High football team has been hotter than a $3 stereo.
And they've played better.
"That is a good football team," Chaney coach Ron Berdis said of the Spartans.
One week after beating the defending Division I state champions, the Spartans opened a 42-13 lead en route to a 42-27 win over the Cowboys Friday night at Boardman Spartan Stadium.
"We're rolling," said Boardman coach Garry Smith.
"After the win over Ignatius, a lot of people thought we'd be down for this game," Boardman junior Mike O'Bruba added. "But we've just worked hard and came out ready to play."
Spartan senior quarterback Tom Zetts, who played well in last week's win over Cleveland St. Ignatius, completed 13-of-21 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Zetts passed for two first-quarter scores to tight end Mike Villagrana, giving Boardman (3-0) a 14-0 lead.
Villagrana finished with three catches for 69 yards and also tipped one pass by Chaney quarterback Justin Hood in the third quarter. O'Bruba caught the pass in the air and raced 55 yards for a touchdown that gave Boardman a 28-7 lead.
"We got a big hit from Joe Kun and a great tip by Villagrana and I just caught it and took it to the house," O'Bruba said after his first varsity touchdown. "I was pumped."
Minutes later, Boardman junior wideout Nick Burnett made a leaping 20-yard touchdown catch, managing to get one foot in bounds, to give the Spartans a 35-13 lead. Burnett finished with five catches for 96 yards.
Spartan senior Brad Beck, who had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, added a 2-yard touchdown run with 10:16 left in the fourth. Beck finished with 24 carries for 70 yards and had three catches for 50 yards.
"They took away the run pretty well, so that forced us to throw more," Smith said.
Chaney senior running back Ed McElroy showed why he's one of the best backs in the area, carrying 20 times for 256 yards. McElroy had touchdown runs of 44, 15 and 80 yards -- the last coming with 10:01 left in the fourth that made it 42-21.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cowboy junior Andrew Bowell forced a Spartan fumble and recovered the ball on Boardman's 24-yard line. Seven plays later, Hood ran a quarterback draw for a 13-yard touchdown to make it 42-27 with 5:43 left.
But Boardman got three first downs on its last drive to run out the clock.
"They've really got the total package," Berdis said of Boardman. "They've got size and Zetts is one of the finer throwers I've seen in a while."
Chaney (1-2) has lost two games in a row, but has had to contend with a brutal early schedule. After a road win over Fitch, the Cowboys lost at Uniontown Lake last week.
The Cowboys are better than their record shows.
"I still think we've got a good football team," Berdis said. "I don't know if [the tough early schedule] is the best way to go, but we're through the worst of it and we're still fairly healthy.
"We're going in the right direction."
Joe Michael had a sack for the Spartans, who defeated Wilson in their opener, and Dave Sypert and Brian Thompson each added two tackles for losses.
Boardman kicker Andy Good missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter, but had seven touchbacks. Dan Ford, who scored on an interception return last week against Ignatius, had an interception.
Keilen Dykes had two sacks and Tramane Pixley had one for the Cowboys.