By Steve ruman
After Friday night’s game between Niles and Canfield, Cardinals quarterback Kimu Kim was asked to sum up the contest.
“I don’t even know where to begin,” Kim said. “I don’t know what to say.”
Kim pretty much spoke for every player and every fan who was in attendance at Bo Rein Stadium.
In a game for the ages, the Cardinals outlasted the Red Dragons, 70-62, in double-overtime. The win snapped Canfield’s 11-game losing streak, dropped the Dragons to 3-3 on the year and saw both teams’ record books rewritten.
As for where to begin with a recap, it all starts with Kim, who rushed for 497 yards and an Ohio-record nine touchdowns on 52 carries. For good measure, he pulled in Canfield’s only pass completion of the night, which went for two yards.
Kim’s performance overshadowed the play of Niles quarterback Kyle Paden. The senior completed 27 of 43 passes for a school-record 505 yards. In the process, Paden already set a Niles record for most passing yards in a season. He also threw for six touchdowns, a school record.
Niles senior Chris Parry also landed himself in the record books by pulling in 15 receptions for a school-best 274 yards.
The 132 points sets a record for most points scored in a game involving a Trumbull County school.
“This was just a great ball game, and it’s something that both teams will remember for a long time,” said Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky. “I’m so proud of the way our guys battled through adversity. We just kept fighting. We never gave up.”
With the game tied at 56 at the end of regulation, Niles struck first in overtime. The Dragons used a 10-yard run by Paden to take a six-point lead. However, their attempt at a two-point conversion failed.
Canfield responded with a Kim 1-yard run to tie the score at 62. The Cardinals’ try to win it was snuffed out when Marcus Hill blocked the extra-point kick.
The Cards got the ball first in the second overtime, and it took Kim three plays to score. He had rushes of 9, 5 and 6 yards, then gave the visitors a 70-62 lead with a two-point conversion run.
Niles’ attempt in the second overtime was hindered when a Paden-to-Parry 19-yard pass was negated by penalty.
Niles led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter, and 34-28 at the break. Canfield took its first lead of the game (35-34) in the third quarter.
The only Cardinals TD not scored by Kim was an Aaron Jenkins 55-yard interception.
“Honestly, you should go talk to my line, because they made it all happen tonight,” Kim said. “They gave me every yard I gained.
“I will remember this game for the rest of my life. Ten years from now, I’ll probably look back to this night as the most memorable night of my life.”
Even Niles coach Brian Shaner was able to appreciate the magnitude of the game.
“It was a lot of fun to be a coach tonight,” Shaner said. “It was nerve-wracking, and it was a seesaw battle which kept everyone on their toes.
“When the pain of the loss wears off, our players are going to realize what went on, and they’ll appreciate the fact they were part of it.”