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University holds off Chardon barrage
University holds off Chardon barrage
By TONY LANGE
University School escaped with a victory last Saturday on its home turf after failing to keep the pedal to the medal against Chardon's fourth-quarter surge.
The Preppers improved to 5-1 in the Premier Athletic Conference, while Chardon dropped to 2-4. Willoughby South remains undefeated in the PAC at 6-0.
After suffering a shutout loss, Hawken School rebounded with a shutout victory last Friday as the Hawks defeated Cardinal in a Chagrin Valley Conference Crossover matchup.
Facing the toughest opponent on its schedule, Gilmour Academy stayed close throughout the first half before Canton Central Catholic ran away with a 35-point third quarter.
University School 38
Snap, handoff, reverse, pitch, pass, catch, touchdown and University School (8-1) razzle-dazzled to a 31-7 lead at the 6:22 mark of the third quarter against the Chardon Hilltoppers (3-6).
The Preppers thought they could put away the Hilltoppers with that trick play that resulted in Luke Vadas's touchdown catch, head coach Jim Stephens said.
After Chardon turned the ball over on a fumble, Kevin Smith ran it 23 yards into the end zone and the Preppers increased their lead to 38-7 going into the fourth quarter.
"That should have ended the game," Stephens said. "Then, we collapsed. We just fell apart."
Chardon went on a 10-play, 5:33 drive that concluded with a touchdown during the first play of the fourth quarter. The Hilltoppers then recovered an onside kick and had a 44-yard touchdown run to quickly make it a 38-21 game with just more than 10 minutes left in the game.
Chardon scored again at the 4:36 mark to make it 38-27 and then held the Preppers to a fourth-down turnover to get the ball back. The Hilltoppers drove 63 yards and scored on a 34-yard pass followed by a two-point conversion to cut their deficit to 38-35 with 1:00 left.
University School managed to recover Chardon's onside kick to hang on for the win.
University School quarterback Tyler Eden, who was 16 for 20 passing with 255 yards, said the Preppers have to do a better job at finishing.
"It almost seems like a loss because we started out so hot and then we started falling back and we can't let that happen," he said. "We have to make sure we don't let our opponents back in and just step on them when they're down. We just need to finish."
After the game, Stephens said his players have to play better and he wanted his them to treat the game like a loss.
"I'm glad we learned that lesson. Every play counts," Stephens said with exclamation during the postgame huddle. "If we play in the playoffs like that, plan on starting your winter sports early."
In the first quarter, Jeff Reimann started the scoring effort early for the Preppers with his 7-yard touchdown catch.
"It's always good to go up first especially when they got the ball first," he said.
Riemann also scored the last touchdown of the first half with 24 seconds left, which took University School up 24-7. That touchdown came on a 13-yard pass that finished a 99-yard drive after the Preppers' defense stuffed the Hilltoppers on fourth down.
"This is our house and we must defend it and that's what we did," senior linebacker Rosie Guastella said about that goal-line stand. "In the first half, we came out harder than they did. We wanted it more."
Before his second-quarter touchdown that took the Preppers up 24-7, Vadas also had a 54-yard touchdown pass from Eden in the first quarter for the 14-0 lead.
"That pass just seemed to hand up there in the sun forever," said Vadas, who caught nine passes for 193 yards. "The safety kind of drifted over and it was open, just single coverage and I just got by."
Harry Reu also scored on a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter for University School and was perfect for extra points.
Paced by the running of Jeremy Simmons, the Hawken School Hawks (6-3) defended their home field and shutout the Cardinal Huskies (1-8) in Chester last Friday night.
Simmons scored on a 12-yard run in the first quarter and on 5-yard and 15-yard runs in the third quarter.
Also scoring for the Hawks was Ryan Stilson on a 27-yard pass from Ian Bell in the second quarter.
With a failed extra point kick and two failed 2-point conversions, the Hawks won the game 25-0. It was their third shutout victory of the season.
Canton Central Catholic 56
Gilmour Academy 8
The Canton Central Catholic Crusaders (8-1) snagged an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter against Gilmour Academy (1-8) last Saturday.
With a 0-0 second quarter, however, the Lancers entered halftime with enthusiasm, head coach Shawn Dodd said.
"They played hard and that's the most proud I've ever been at halftime when I was down 14-nothing," he said. "All we talked about was we're going to get two scores and go for two and win this thing at the end here. They were believing."
Without their starting quarterback, along with seven other starters, the Lancers already-thin lineup didn't play in their favor.
The Crusaders scored 35 points in the third quarter to put the game away.
The Lancers' touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard pass from Jimmy Rooney to Eric Anderson. Rooney then threw to Chuckie Gallo for the 2-point conversion.
Rooney led the rushing effort for the Lancers with 35 yards on seven carries.
Harrison Hunt led the receiving with 33 yards on three catches.
Mike Antonelli led the defense with five solo tackles and two sacks. He also stepped in at quarterback and completed five passes for 42 yards.
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