Canton McKinley’s 28-10 win endangered the Spartans’ playoff hopes.
CANTON — For the Boardman High football team, Friday’s game at Canton McKinley turned out to be a loss in many ways.
Not only did the 28-10 setback weaken the Spartans’ hopes of a Federal League title and a Division I playoff berth, but it also ended the season for one of their senior starters.
With Boardman trailing 14-10 with 10:31 left in the game, receiver Ken Jones was wrestled to the turf by a group of McKinley defenders after catching a pass. But he didn’t get up.
After 15 minutes, he was carted off on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
School officials reported that Jones sustained a severe concussion, but had movement in all his extremities.
“The referee told me his head snapped back when he hit the ground, kind of like whiplash,” Boardman coach D.J. Ogilivie said. “Once I saw him moving his fingers and toes, I knew he was going to be OK.”
Boardman, which was averaging more than 31 points per game, failed to score an offensive touchdown and was held to a season-low 10 points.
The Spartans were successful moving the football, gaining 341 total yards, but costly penalties several off-target passes foiled three scoring opportunities inside the McKinley 35.
“You can’t do that in the Federal League,” Ogilivie said. “It’s not how many yards you make, it’s how many points you score.
“We did great between the 30s, but we didn’t execute when we got down there. We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”
Twice in the first half, Boardman drove inside the Bulldogs’ 30, but committed two costly penalties to stop its momentum.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs put together two 80-yard scoring drives and another that went for 65 yards.
McKinley was effective in mixing the run with the pass, rushing for 160 yards and throwing for 190 yards.
“They did a great job of mixing it up,” Ogilivie said. “Those two running backs are the best pair in the league. You can’t keep a team like that down for too long.”
McKinley scored on its opening drive of the contest, going 80 yards in 11 plays to pay dirt.
Quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Angelo Powell to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage with 3:35 left in the quarter.
The Spartans tied the game at 7-all early in the third quarter with a big defensive play. Dayne Hammond returned an interception 90 yards for a score to give Boardman a lift.
After the Bulldogs pulled ahead 14-7 with a rushing touchdown in the third period, Boardman closed the gap to 14-10 with a 25-yard field goal by Trevor Ragan.
The Spartans again drove into McKinley territory and faced fourth-and-2 at the 32. A Rob Boyd pass was completed for a first down, but was called back because of a holding penalty.
McKinley added two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the finishing touches on its fifth win.
“We haven’t had much success here,” Ogilivie said. “I think you play like you practice and this week we weren’t focused in practice.
“You can’t take any week lightly in this league. We forgot what got us this far — hard work.
“We just have to try to bounce back next week against Fitch next week,” Ogilvie said. “We can’t control the computers or the other games — we can only control how we play.”