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Cardinals practice hard, play harder versus Alliance
October 2, 2019

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Following consecutive weeks of playing unfamiliar regular season foes, the Canfield football team got reacquainted with an old friend.

For the past seven seasons the Canfield kids and Alliance have staged some epic affairs with the Cardinals coming out on top in a majority of those meetings. The two schools met one more time last Friday night at Bob Dove Field. Once again, the Cardinals clobbered the Aviators, this time by a score of 34-10. That gives Canfield an amazing 183-51 advantage over Alliance over the past five seasons. More importantly, the Cardinals were able to bounce back from a bad Week 4 loss at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin. It also allowed head coach Mike Pavlansky's gang a chance to meet his weekly goal of leaving last weekend's contest with a 3-2 record.

"We had a great week of practice," Pavlansky said. "We learned a lesson on how to prepare."

Possibly the most prepared of the Canfield players was senior running back Nick Crawford. The team's leading rusher has been banged up as of late, but last weekend he had a game for the ages. Crawford cut up the Alliance defense to the tune of 246 yards rushing with touchdown totes of 1, 10 and 10 yards. For good measure, the tailback tallied on a 20-yard touchdown catch for his fourth score of the game. As a team, Canfield rushed for over 400 yards which placed Pavlansky in his happy place.

"We dominated both lines of scrimmage," said the old school coach. "Our offensive line is growing tremendously."

After throwing kudos at his interior linemen, Pavlansky placed some laurels on his senior running back's performance.

"We love having Nick in the backfield," he said. "He has great vision. It's nice to have him back."

Joining Crawford in the rushing stratosphere was quarterback Ethan Fletcher who had just eight carries for 119 yards. He would also complete both of his passes with the one scoring strike to Crawford. Jackson Crist would also score on an 11-yard run in the third period.

While Canfield's running offense was cooking, the Aviators' couldn't muster much on the ground. They would try running 33 times but could only total 56 yards. That added up to a paltry 1.70 yards per carry. Sure, Alliance had 256 yards through the air, but most of those yards came during catch up mode. Pavlansky was really impressed with how his defenders made clutch plays when their backs were up against the wall.

"We stopped (Alliance) four times inside the red zone," said the coach. "We bent a little but didn't break."

Speaking of breaks, the Cardinals can't seem to catch one when it comes to this crazy 2019 schedule. Up next on the slate is a game against another total stranger. This time, it's Cleveland JFK that will be paying a visit to Canfield for the first time ever. JFK is an underwhelming 0-5 this fall. It's coming off a 32-14 blowout loss to equally unimpressive Cleveland Rhodes. The Fighting Eagles haven't displayed much fight scoring only 40 points in five games. Their opponents have scored 196 against them. Pavlansky hopes his squad can continue that trend, but admits they'll need to study the JFK defense a lot first.

"We don't know much about them," Pavlansky said. "I say it all the time though that it's more about us than who we are playing. We need to compete and play mistake free football early in the game then, hopefully, we have a chance to put the game away in the fourth quarter."

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