Boardman beat Ursuline in a Steel Valley Conference shootout.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- A couple more games like Friday's and Boardman High football coach Garry Smith will get gray hair.
"I've already got them," he said with a laugh.
In a wild game befitting Friday the 13th, Boardman forced three Ursuline turnovers to win a 35-28 Steel Valley Conference shootout at Stambaugh Stadium.
Boardman senior quarterback Tom Zetts -- who credited his coaches, his offensive line, God and his receivers, not necessarily in that order -- completed 12 of 21 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
He also rushed 17 times -- not all of them planned -- for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Zetts wasn't sure what got into him, but he wasn't complaining.
"I have no idea," he said. "I guess the Lord was with me on my side tonight."
Added Ursuline coach Dan Murphy, "Zetts just makes plays. He's a great competitor and he's obviously one of their leaders. He's a super player."
Ursuline junior quarterback Daryll Clark was nearly Zetts' equal, completing 12 of 21 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
It was almost enough.
The Irish (2-2, 0-1) threatened to tie the contest on the game's final drive. On a 4th and 18 at their own 21, Clark hit tight end Louis Irizarry for 47 yards to the Spartan 32.
But an incomplete pass and a sack by Spartan junior Mike O'Bruba -- who had two sacks and a fumble recovery -- ended the threat.
"I'm very pleased," Smith said. "Anytime you win, there's no bad things."
Boardman (4-0, 1-0) started the scoring with an 11-play, 64 yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Zetts to senior tight end Mike Villagrana.
The Irish answered with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Irizarry. Ursuline then took the lead midway through the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Terrence Graves. Isaiah Poindexter set up the touchdown with a 37-yard punt return.
Boardman answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Zetts to junior Josh Susany to tie the game at 14.
On the ensuing drive, Ursuline fullback Brad Turnbull fumbled and Joe Kun recovered for the Spartans.
"Turnovers hurt you," Murphy said. "But what's scary is that we were still in the game. The kids stuck together and the game went down to the wire."
Four plays later, senior Brad Beck rumbled for a 3-yard touchdown to give Boardman a 20-14 lead. Andy Good's extra point try was wide right.
Ursuline again answered, going 58 yards in four plays, capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Irizarry -- who caught seven passes for 175 yards -- to make it 21-20 at the half.
Boardman took the lead for good on the first drive of the second half. The Spartans went 80 yards in 14 plays, burning 6:55 off the clock, and Zetts finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown. He then hit Susany for the two-point conversion.
After a fumble by Ursuline junior Delbert Ferguson on the Spartans' 24, Nick Burnett caught a 3-yard touchdown from Zetts with 7:43 left in the fourth to make it 35-28.
It looked like the Irish were finished.
But on the ensuing drive, Clark tried to hit Irizarry and the ball was tipped in the air and caught by Walter Lacey, who raced 69 yards for a touchdown. Ursuline got the ball back, but Turnbull fumbled, Chris Russo recovered and Boardman was able to run precious minutes off the clock.
Russo filled in for Beck, who injured his ankle, and rushed eight times for 81 yards.
The Spartans' offensive line of Kevin Tuminello, John Greco, Kenny Brown, Dave Sypert and Mike Martinko played well, allowing just one sack.
"This team has a lot of heart," Zetts said. "We know in the end we have to come through and we do."