Cardinals come up short in shootout with Dover
September 11, 2019


Each season from 2009 to 2014, the football teams from Canfield and Dover were regular adversaries on the gridiron.

Over that span, the two teams hooked up for some wild affairs. They staged another crazy contest last Friday night in Canfield's home opener. Unfortunately, the end result was the same as it was in four of those previous six showdowns. The Cardinals and Tornadoes combined for 917 yards of total offense, but it was the Dover kids who had just a little more oomph. Dover disappointed the large and excited pro Cardinal crowd at Bob Dove Field with a 33-30 victory. It was Canfield's first loss of the season and only its second regular season setback in its past 23 tilts. Despite the first loss of the year, Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky wasn't as peeved as one would think.

"Our guys are disappointed, but there were a lot of correctible mistakes," said Pavlansky on the morning after the loss. "We hung in versus a good, playoff caliber football team."

Pavlansky's boys did more than just "hang in" with the Tornadoes in the first quarter. Considering the final score and the obscene amount of offense, it was somewhat surprising that it took 11:34 of game time before one of the squad's scored a touchdown. That score came courtesy of Canfield rusher Nick Crawford who sailed in from 29-yards away to give his team a 7-0 lead. That touchdown advantage would not last long for Canfield. On Dover's first play after getting the ball back, quarterback Aydan Hall began his assault on Canfield's defensive backfield. Hall hit Kade Ruegsegger on a 92-yard touchdown pass to tie the game after one period.

The second stanza started with more fireworks from Hall's right arm. The confident slinger shot a touchdown pass 59-yards to Peyton Burris to push Dover into the lead. That offensive possession was set up by a Burris interception. It was 14-7 in favor of the Tornadoes' at intermission.

Canfield commenced on a comeback on their opening opportunity of the second half. Another Crawford touchdown run, this time from 16-yards out, would bring the Cardinals back. A missed extra point kept the Cardinals behind by one-point, however. Naturally in this seesaw showdown, the Tornadoes took their first possession of the third quarter and extended their lead. Canfield quarterback Ethan Fletcher would then force a tie with a touchdown run and subsequent two-point conversion. After the visitors took the lead back, the Cardinals would move ahead again 28-27 early in the fourth quarter thanks to Crawford's third touchdown on the evening. Sadly, a 60-yard Hall touchdown pass put Dover back on top 33-28. The Tornadoes took a late safety and the game ended with the Cardinals attempting a late hook and ladder miracle as the final gun sounded. Hall would end up hurting Canfield for over 400 yards of offense and five touchdowns. All of Dover's scores were from 45 yards or longer. Still, Pavlansky was not too upset with how his defense performed.

"(Dover) had five long plays," said the coach seriously. "We played outstanding defense besides those five big plays."

What frustrated Pavlansky the most about the explosive plays by the Tornadoes was that he and his coaching staff were expecting it all week.

"It's been a few years since we played (Dover), but they didn't do anything new," he said. "They're an outstanding passing team. We've got to do a better job coaching our defense."

While Hall and his mates were lighting up the scoreboard, Fletcher and his friends were keeping up. Canfield's junior QB ran for 136 yards and passed for 33. Junior Jackson Crist also got some snaps and threw for 80 more yards. Crawford killed Dover's defense with 240 yards rushing and three scores. The Cardinals' offense captured over 500 yards, with 400 of those coming on the ground much to Pavlansky's delight. One thing that didn't thrill the boss were the large number of infractions against his gang.

"We had over 100 yards of penalties," Pavlansky said. "We can't do that against good teams."

Pavlansky has no idea what type of team his kids are encountering this Friday at home. In for a visit is McKinley Tech of Washington, D.C. The Trainers are 0-2 after getting destroyed by mighty Dunbar 44-6 in Week 2. Pavlansky hopes to get to know his next opponent quickly, but believes it'll be irrelevant if his Cardinals can't correct what went wrong against Dover.

"We'll need to watch a lot of tape," the coach said over the weekend. "No matter who we play it's more about us. We can't win if we don't fix the mistakes we've made. We did get better form Week 1 to Week 2 and we're certainly a better team than we were against Louisville."


Regular Size The Town Crier