Cardinal’s Kyle Simms recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and the team scored touchdowns on its first three possessions to take control of Friday’s season opener at Garrettsville Garfield.
|Lester Troyer ran for 2 scores and had a sack for the Huskies|
The Huskies then held off a G-Men rally to win 34-14.
“We took it to them in the first quarter,” said Cardinal coach Eric Cardinal. “We came down, hit them hard and put up some points and then they came back and hit us in the mouth.”
Nate Peters followed Simms’ fumble recovery with a 19 yard touchdown run and the Huskies converted a two-point conversion to take an early 8-0 lead. Lester Troyer then scored on runs of 56 and 21 yards to put the Huskies on top 21-0 in the first quarter.
Garfield scored two second quarter touchdowns to make it a game at halftime, but the Huskies rallied for two scores in the second half and shut down the G-Men to seal the win.
“In all honesty, even though they were down, it was their game to win going into the half,” Cardinal said. “The fact that we came down and put a proverbial line in the sand and took it to them, stopped them and scored twice ourselves, I thought that was a character builder right there.”
Clark Thurling scored on a 19 yard run in the third quarter and Brant Zemelka put an exclamation point on the win with a 42-yard scoring scamper with just 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the game.
The Huskies ran the ball 47 times for 344 yards.
Troyer led the charge with 5 carries for 84 yards. Thurling carried 17 times for 64 yards, KC Cress had 6 carries for 54 yards and Cody Purpura carried 7 times for 47 yards.
“When we block it up we’ve got the backs that can run,” Cardinal said. “Lester had a lot of yards. I can’t say enough about Clark. He had a great game. We ran the jet and the rocket with the wing backs, a variety of wing backs, with good results. We felt good about that. When we’re hitting on all cylinders any of the backs should be a threat. They’re all good backs but the whole purpose of our offense is for them to not know who is going to get the ball. If we run jet and then the next time we run jet and run trap up the middle they’re complementary plays to each other so you would expect a lot of guys to touch the ball and it did work out that way.”
Defensively, Thurling led the Huskies with 10 tackles and Zemelka had 6 ½. Troyer had one sack and Logan Schultz and Noah Farmwald combined on another.
Despite the win, Cardinal saw several miscues he hopes to clean up before his team hosts Pymatuning Valley on Friday.
“A lot of the stuff we did was self-inflicted. We scored a touchdown and turned around and gave up a touchdown. That’s a 14 point turnaround. 21-7 is now 21-14,” he said. “We scored a touchdown here and that was called back, so we did a lot of things that we did to ourselves, and those are obvious because those are touchdowns called back. But missed blocks, missed assignments, that was first game sloppiness I thought. At the same time our kids showed a lot of character to come back and win the second half the way that they did.”