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Spartans slammed on road by Massillon Jackson
September 18, 2019

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Boardman's football team bounced back from a bad Week 1 performance against Erie with a convincing win at Poland.

That major victory over the Bulldogs notwithstanding, the Boardman boys knew another huge road triumph at Massillon Jackson in Week 3 would really set their season in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Polar Bears made sure that win never happened. Jackson's offense jumped all over the Spartans in the first half outgaining them by over 300 total yards in a relaxing 49-14 win.

"Jackson beat us from the beginning," lamented Boardman head coach Joe Ignazio. "We got out hit and busted assignments all over the place."

Boardman was busted all game by the Jackson duo of Ethan Adkins and Hunter Geissinger. Adkins' 7-yard touchdown run on the Polar Bears' initial drive set the tone for the entire evening. He would account for six touches for 57 yards on that opening scoring march. For the game, the senior running back would total 177 yards and two scores. The six-foot-five sophomore signal caller Geissinger would gain 208 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Polar Bears would beat up Boardman with 18 first half first downs and nearly 400 yards of opening half offensive yards. They would essentially end the game at halftime with their 42-7 lead.

About the only two things that saved this night from being a total bummer for the Spartans was a pair of marvelous plays by a couple of underclassmen. Sophomore Terrance Thomas scored the Spartans' only touchdown of the first half with a 95-yard kickoff return. That came on the heels of Jackson's fourth score and kept Boardman relatively competitive at 28-7. Sophomore linebacker Anthony Hightower scored late in the game thanks to his 20-yard interception return. Coach Ignazio acknowledges how young this Boardman bunch is so the fact that this tenth grade twosome came up large last Friday night gave him some reason to smile.

"Those were big plays by two sophomores," said Ignazio. "We will find guys that go with relentless effort or they will not play."

Whoever the coach selects to take the field this week will need to be on top of their game because the Spartans must host a red hot Howland team. Like Boardman, the Tigers are 1-2 this year but their 1-2 looks a little more promising than the Spartans'. Howland's two defeats were against Niles and Hubbard (in overtime) who have combined for a 5-1 record. Last week, the Tigers thrillingly took out rival Poland 14-13 on a last second touchdown. That comeback win was their first triumph over the Bulldogs since 2016. Boardman has also beaten Howland in back-to-back seasons, including last fall's 31-17 win. Stopping the Tigers means corralling their top two tailbacks in senior Garrett Deemer and junior Eric Babinchak. Deemer won the Poland game with his 9-yard scoring run with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation. Babinchak started his team's comeback bid by bolting 52-yards for a TD last week. Regardless of who's toting the rock for the Tigers, Ignazio doesn't like his team's chances if it continues to shoot itself in the foot. He's also very relieved that his kids will attempt to get back to .500 in front of a friendly crowd.

"We need to correct the mistakes we are making, or it doesn't matter who our opponent is," said Ignazio. "The good thing is we get (Howland) at home."

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