Spartans make most of Tigers’ turnovers
By MIKE MCLAIN
Boardman set the tone early when Connor Miller returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown.
The Spartans liked the idea of living off turnovers so much that they added three more interceptions and two fumble recoveries in breezing to a 31-17 win over Howland on Friday night at Lombardo Field.
Boardman (2-0) was in control throughout, opening a 24-0 halftime lead. The Spartans stretched their advantage to 31-3 before the Tigers (0-2) scored a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We’re a defensive-mentality type of team,” Miller said. “We fly around and are a bunch of ball hawks on that end of the ball. We kind of did what we expected to do tonight.”
Miller was positioned between Tigers quarterback Jordan Fronzaglio and the intended receiver on his pick-six. After making the grab, Miller had a clear view of the end zone.
Getting a defensive score was big for the Spartans, who played without senior quarterback Mike O’Horo, who suffered a minor injury in a win over East a week earlier. Although Boardman received solid play from O’Horo’s replacement, Wrentie Martin, the quick six points from the defense provided a spark.
Boardman took advantage of a second Fronzaglio interception to march 66 yards on eight plays, scoring on a 12-yard run by Miller on a sweep. Tommy Fryda, who was perfect in handling the kicking chores, made the extra point.
Tyler Peterson made a diving catch on the interception at the Spartans’ 34. The big play on the drive was an 18-yard pass from Martin to Che Trevena.
Martin appeared comfortable running the offense. He received limited playing time when O’Horo went down against East.
“We’re just being cautious,” Spartans coach Joe Ignazio said. “He’s really fine. He’ll be back next week. Wrentie finished the game last week and did a great job tonight.”
The Spartans went 68 yards to score on a 40-yard pass from Martin to Trevena to make it 21-0.
Fryda’s 24-yard field goal made it 24-0.
A 29-yard field goal by Howland’s Luke Brancaccio made it 24-3 late in the third quarter.
Rashie Garner recovered a Howland fumble at midfield midway through the final quarter. The turnover led to a 48-yard scoring run by Josh Rodriguez, who rushed for 140 yards.
Cartier Yancy broke free on a 70-yard TD run for the Tigers with 1:50 remaining to play. Howland recovered an onside kick and scored on a 19-yard pass from Fronzaglio to Justin Jones.
“We started to put a couple of things together towards the end,” Tigers first-year coach Steve Boyle said. “We still have a lot we have to work on – taking care of the ball and tackling better.”