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Ready to break out: Spartans excited to find consistency on offense

Boardman’s Terence Thomas throws a pass during the first half of their game against East, Friday night at Boardman High School. (David Dermer/Warren Tribune Chronicle)

BOARDMAN — In his first year as the football coach at Boardman, Seth Antram has been waiting for his offense to break out.

Throughout the first five weeks of the season, he’s seen bits and pieces of what the Spartans can do, both running and passing the ball.

In Boardman’s Week 1 win over Cardinal Mooney, running back Sean O’Horo ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns as the Spartans stomped the Cardinals 28-7. Then, against Howland last Friday, O’Horo broke out again for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Spartans won 33-21.

“I don’t wanna jinx anything but he’s kinda been the most stable one right there,” Antram said. “He’s definitely got his fair share of the touches and led us during that Mooney game and pretty much every game he’s been our leading rusher. But the stability he brings and the type of player he is, a hard player, a tough-nosed kid, it’s just been great to have him where he’s at.”

After five weeks of play, O’Horo has rushed for 624 yards and six touchdowns as the Spartans have gotten off to a 4-1 start while battling through a slew of injuries that has forced them to move things around early this season.

With Purdue commit Terence Thomas dealing with an injury at the beginning of the season, sophomore Tomas Andujar was forced into action under center and played well until suffering an injury in Boardman’s victory over Cardinal Mooney

Anthony Hightower then stepped in under center and did well. He led the Spartans to a Week 2 victory over Chaney and then pushed Jackson Massillon to the edge in Week 3.

“It’s been a great experience and it seems like we go through it every week and I understand it’s everyone right now with injuries and things like that. Everyone is battling through that,” Antram said. “But in our games we’ve gotten a lot of guys experience and a lot of reps. We’ve moved guys around a little bit and they’ve responded real well. It shows that we can play through some tough situations.”

After Hightower became comfortable in the position he connected with wide receiver Cam Thompson three times for 103 yards against Massillon, but the Spartans came up just short in their only loss of the season.

But, again, the Spartans showed a glimpse of what their offense could do.

“We knew we were gonna have to throw the ball against them (Massillon) and lighten their defense up a little bit,” Antram said. “So we put in some shot plays with Cam and that was when we started feeling confident that Hightower could make some reads that he needed to, just because he hadn’t any reps before that.

“Everyone has just been taking their turn stepping up when we needed them to on both sides of the ball, we’ve been lucky with that.”

Antram has been waiting for things to click and over the past two games, the Spartans have really shown what they are capable of when it comes to excelling in both the pass and the run. In his first game of the season, Thomas returned under center and threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns while Thompson blew up for 183 yards and two touchdowns on just four catches.

Add that to O’Horo’s performance and the Spartans were rolling as they connected for a few big plays.

Then, against East on Friday, the Spartans tallied 402 yards of total offense as everyone got into the mix.

Thompson returned a punt 45 yards and a kickoff 82 yards for touchdowns. Thomas threw for 124 yards and two TD’s while O’Horo rushed for 128 yards and two TDs.

As the Spartans continue to get healthier, they get stronger, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now, as they enter the second half of the season, Antram is just looking for consistency.

“It’s just putting everything together,” Antram said.”In the Mooney game we were able to run the ball really well and then the last few games we were able to throw it a little better. Offensively, we just need to combine the two and be a force through the air and on the ground.”

After taking down East, the Spartans turn their attention to Cleveland Benedictine next Friday at 7 p.m.

gmacafee@tribtoday.com

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