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Cardinals win first ever matchup with McKinley Tech
September 18, 2019

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You had to feel somewhat sorry for the McKinley Tech football team last Friday night.

The kids from Washington D.C. traveled to Canfield to take on the Cardinals for the first time ever. Canfield was coming off a three-point setback at the hands of Dover in Week 2 that saw its defense give up over 500 yards of total offense. All week in practice the Canfield coaching staff challenged their boys to halt allowing chunk yards, which crippled them the week before, and stop making the careless infractions that enabled the opposing offense to continue drives.The Cardinals' defenders heeded their coaches' advice and totally teed off on the Trainers. The end result was less than 50 total yards by Tech and an easy 43-0 whitewash win for the Cardinals. With the victory, Canfield avoided losing back-to-back regular season games for the first time since September of 2014.

"We had two goals (before the game)," said Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky, "and that was eliminate penalties and stop the big plays. We had one penalty and gave up no big plays. If you can do those two things, you'll win a lot of games."

Pavlansky's club won this game last weekend by building an insurmountable first half lead. Its 36-0 advantage at intermission was so enormous the referees had to run a continuous clock in the second half to lend mercy to the Trainers. On the game's third play, Canfield's outstanding senior rusher Nick Crawford bolted 73-yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Crawford would not collect many more yards because he exited the contest with an injury. He would finish with 108 yards and, according to his coach, Cardinal Nation can exhale because his injury is not believed to interrupt his senior season.

"It was more precautionary than anything," Pavlansky said. "(The injury) is not serious and he should be fine next week."

When Crawford took the bench, he left the running duties in the hands of someone he's very familiar with. In his stead came Michael Crawford who just happens to be Nick's younger brother. It's unknown what is in the water in the Crawford household, but whatever it is must have some sort of energy booster in it. In fact, the Trainers' defense probably didn't even realize Nick had left the game because they kept hearing the Crawford name over the stadium speaker after every punishing run. The sophomore Crawford started his sensational night with a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter that extended the Cardinals' lead to 21-0. Before the night was done, Michael would make three more touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Canfield's defense was doing everything it could to keep this contest in laugher mode. McKinley Tech could only gain a net of 40 yards and couldn't even move the ball in garbage time when many of Canfield's main defenders were replaced by younger guys.

"It was a great job by our kids on defense and a great job by our coaches," Pavlansky said. "Whenever you hold a team to that little offense, no matter who you're playing, you give yourself a great chance to win."

That chance of winning will probably not be as great this Friday night against a much mightier Notre Dame Cathedral Latin squad. Canfield will travel to Chardon to play a school that is synonymous with the postseason.

"(NDCL) is a traditional playoff team," Pavlansky said. "They've played three tough road games in a row and this is their home opener. They've started slowly so they know they pretty much have to win out to make the playoffs."

True to Coach Pavlansky's words, the Lions are 1-2 following a 36-21 Week 3 loss at Columbus St. Francis DeSales. The last time NDCL clashed with Canfield on the football field was during the 2017 playoffs. That evening ended with Canfield advancing 22-7.

"We were fortunate to beat them in the playoffs two years ago in a great battle," said Pavlansky. "They have the same coaching staff from that game, and you can be sure (that loss) is still sitting in the seniors' minds."

The Lions are littered with tremendous talent throughout the roster, but Pavlansky is most concerned with a trio of offensive stars. He feels that controlling that triumvirate and keeping up the error free play from last week will give his gang their best chance of coming home from Chardon with a 3-1 record.

"(NDCL's) quarterback is athletic, they have a great athlete at tailback and their receiver may be the best athlete on the field," Pavlansky said. "We'll need to play sound defense and use proper cover angles to eliminate the big plays again."

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