HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL Allen ignites Ursuline to 34-7 rout of Boardman
He rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns for the Irish.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- Alex Allen led the Ursuline High football team onto the soggy Spartan Stadium grass. Then he led it to victory.
A 6-foot, 192-pound senior, Allen rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as the Irish defeated Boardman 34-7 to give Dan Reardon a win in his head coaching debut.
Reardon previously served as an assistant coach on Thom McDaniels' staff at Warren Harding. Saturday, he and the Irish established their own identity.
"I'm just relieved we played the game," Reardon said. "I've been waiting since January. I told the kids that it's been hard for me to sleep since I got this job, because I've been so excited."
Allen showed a combination of speed and elusiveness in running past Boardman defenders on 27 carries.
"The line, oh my goodness," Allen praised. "I don't feel I'm the player of the game. Our offensive line is the players of the game."
Behind that line, Allen scored on runs of 59 and 9 yards in the first half as Ursuline opened a 21-7 halftime lead from which the Spartans couldn't recover.
"He's a very talented young man," Reardon said. "I've been telling him since January that we needed him to have a big year for us to be successful. Tonight was a very good start for him."
Allen wasn't the only player leading Ursuline into the new season, which contains high expectations. His senior teammate, Derrick Stewart, was just as brilliant.
Stewart electrified the Spartan Stadium crowd in the first quarter, scoring Ursuline's first touchdown of the season on an 87-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Scooter Hargate.
With Ursuline positioned at its own 13-yard line, Hargate lofted a ball down the middle. Stewart gathered it in at midfield and raced away from two Boardman defenders.
Stewart finished with three catches for 136 yards.
"I don't know if the couple of big plays we had early set the tone. Obviously, that gave us some breathing room," Reardon said.
"As the game wore on, our offensive line set the tone. Our offensive line continued to wear down their defensive line. By the fourth quarter, we were getting great movement at the point of attack."
The long touchdown wasn't the only contribution Stewart made in the early going. He also recovered a Boardman fumble and made a key block on Allen's 59-yard scoring run, which included an assortment of misdirection.
"Tonight both of them had big plays," Reardon said of Allen and Stewart, "but we have a lot of kids on our team with the ability to make plays. Tonight it just happened to be those two."
After Ursuline established itself early, Boardman didn't back down, rallying to within 14-7 in the first quarter.
The Spartans scored when senior receiver Nick Ress made a nifty 24-yard catch in the right corner of the end zone, on a pass from senior quarterback Matt Howells.
Ress had three catches for 40 yards, while junior Tony Tarantino had four for 38.
The Irish put the game away in the second half with touchdown runs by sophomores Matt Yarab and Maurice Jones.
Reardon may have basked in the victory spotlight, but the game was also special for Boardman coach D.J. Ogilvie, who was making his head-coaching debut at his alma mater.
Ogilvie previously served as the head coach at United.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but lightning forced the postponement until Saturday.