Breinz, Cummings help Canfield beat Boardman for first time
Breinz, Cummings lead
Cardinals to their first victory over Boardman
By Charles Grove
The first win against Boardman in school history feels pretty good for the Canfield Cardinals, especially after last week’s disappointing loss at Struthers.
This week the Cardinals held on for a 24-20 win over the Spartans on Homecoming.
“We got beat by a really good team last week and our guys came out and put in a really good week of work,” Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky said. “Every guy stepped up, we encouraged each other when things went wrong on the field and we had some disappointing plays but our guys stuck together.”
Tailback Paul Breinz had 94 yards rushing while quarterback Jake Cummings racked up 69 of his own. But all the credit went to the offensive line, which at times made the ball carriers look like Moses parting the Red Sea.
“It all starts up front with the o-line and even with the receivers making big blocks,” Cummings said. “Our backs have got the easy job, we’ve ust got to find the hole and go.”
Koby Adu-Poku was the one bright spot for Boardman. The senior had 33 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The Spartans ran the ball 39 times while throwing the ball just eight times for 19 yards.
“We put it on [Adu-Poku’s] shoulders,” Boardman head coach Joe Ignazio said. “We challenged our linemen this week if we’re going to get back on track we have to be able to rush the ball.
“Our feeling was if they weren’t going to adjust what we were running, we weren’t going to stop.”
Turnovers played a huge part in the outcome. Cummings threw a poor pass in his own red zone to allow Boardman to score after the Cardinals went up 7-0 and a muffed punt later in the half allowed Adu-Poku to punch in his first of two touchdowns on the night to put Boardman up 13-7.
But an interception by Breinz right before the half set up Sam Accordino’s 38-yard field goal to give Canfield a 17-13 lead at the break and all the momentum.
“At halftime we just told them we can’t turn the ball over,” Pavlansky said.
The teams traded touchdowns in the second half, giving Canfield the 24-20 lead with 9:58 to go after the Cardinals drove 96 yards, with Cummings punching it in from 10 yards away.
Boardman looked like it was on its way to the end zone on the ensuing drive but a fumbled handoff from Boardman quarterback Mike O’Horo to Adu-Poku was the killer turnover.
The loss is the fourth in a row for Boardman, which has lost four straight after a 2-0 start a month ago.
“We’re playing good football teams,” Ignazio said. “We’re not very good right now and they are.”
Canfield stands at 4-2 and this win will provide a much-needed boost in the playoff computer ratings, which had the Cardinals in 11th place in Division III before Friday.
“Momentum is everything and hopefully this will give us a lot for the last four weeks of the season,” Cummings said.
The road doesn’t get a lot easier with Niles, Howland and Poland still on the schedule, and Pavlansky knows his team needs to maintain its focus.
“You’ve got to come Monday and you’ve got to prepare for league teams now,” Pavlansky said. We’ve got four weeks of league teams and we’ve got to come back and have another great week like this one.”