AFTERNOON FOOTBALL Canfield Cardinals go to 5-0
The score was 33-0 against Marcus Whitman, a Class C team from New York State.
CANFIELD -- The Marcus Whitman High football team may be a powerhouse in New York state, but it wasn't good enough to march into Ohio and grab a victory.
Playing in its first afternoon game since 1978, Canfield scored on three of its five first-half possessions to build a 20-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 33-0 win Saturday.
Marcus Whitman, from Rushville, N.Y., southeast of Rochester, entered the game with a 3-0 record. The Wildcats finished 9-1 in 2004, advancing to the Class C -- Ohio equivalent of Division IV -- state semifinals.
How it happened
Canfield was originally scheduled to play East Liverpool in Week 5, but a scheduling snafu left the Cardinals with an open date.
Meanwhile, Marcus Whitman had a void in its schedule as well. Assistant coach Jim Sibeto, who grew up in Poland and played for the Bulldogs as a defensive back from 1985-88, contacted Canfield about a possible game.
Sibeto played his senior season under current Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky, who was an assistant at Poland at the time.
"In all aspects, this turned out to be a great day for us," said Pavlansky, whose team improved to 5-0. "It was nice to see Jim and let our teams play some football. It was a physical, competitive game and we were just able to get the best of them.
"Our offense controlled the tempo of the game and I thought our offensive line opened up some seams for our running backs and that allowed us to take advantage of our speed."
Canfield senior Angelo Babbaro notched two first-half touchdowns on runs of 2 and 3 yards. His second score gave Canfield a 14-0 lead with 7:03 remaining in the second quarter.
Quarterback Frank Ross padded the Cardinals lead to 20-0 with a 19-yard scamper with 1:01 remaining before the intermission.
When the open date came up, it didn't take Pavlansky long to start looking for an opponent, rather than have his team take the week off to prepare for key Metro Athletic Conference games against Howland and Salem.
"Our kids deserve to play 10 football games, so we wanted to get a team to play," said Pavlansky. "I'm really glad that Whitman was able to come out and play and give us some good competition.
"I'm happy with where we are right now as a football team, but certainly we need to get better. The season really starts next week up at Howland."
The Cardinals added 13 points in the second half on touchdowns from Mike Hoelzel on a 24-yard pass from Frank Ross and a 2-yard run by Pat Fening.
Marcus Whitman coach Brian Wickham knew what his team was getting into playing a team almost three times its size. But he was just glad for the opportunity his players had to take a road trip and play football.
"I told the kids there was a good possibility that we'd come out here and get our butts kicked," said Wickham. "Canfield will be the best team we'll see all season until we get to the state finals. Their quickness is something we just don't see in our area. They are a great team and have some great athletes.
"The 33-0 score looks bad, but we aren't a bad team. I'm not disappointed with how we played; we just couldn't move the ball and weren't as fast and physical as they were."