Football’s Comeback Falls Short at North Canton
North Canton Hoover 24, Louisville 21
The Louisville Leopards Varsity Football team fell in a nail-biter against the host North Canton Hoover Vikings 24-21 Friday Night at Memorial Stadium. With the loss, Louisville falls to an even 1-1 on the year.
Quarterback Brody Hahn finished 19 of 37 for 282 yards and had 2 touchdowns passing to lead the Leopards. Hahn was also Louisville’s leading rusher with 16 carries for 64 yard and a 7 yard touchdown run on a 4th-and-1 play in the second quarter.
The run capped off a 6 play, 80 yard drive that put the Leopards on the board after falling behind 10-0 in the opening period. The key play during the drive was a 63 yard completion over the middle from Hahn to Wide Receiver Max Hartline that put Louisville in business at the Vikings 16. Hartline would finish as the game’s leading receiver with 6 catches for 132 yards.
North Canton answered with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to pull ahead 24-7. Quarterback John Keller hit a wide open Donnie Genetin for a back-breaking 80 yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-10. The Vikings would strike again a little over three minutes later when Runningback Nate George side-stepped to his left and scampered to the endzone from 33 yards out.
The Leopards wasted no time in matching that score. They drove 74 yards on on 5 plays in a span of just 1:18. The drive ended with Tyler Adams breaking free in the center of the field for a 49 yard aerial score from Hahn with just 18 seconds remaining before halftime. Adams would finish with 8 catches for 92 yards for the evening.
Louisville continued to gain momentum at the start of the third quarter. The North Canton returner was separated from the ball in traffic and Corey White fell on it for the Leopards at the Vikings 41. Two plays later, a little pump fake by Hahn was enough to help Receiver Jack Davis gain an advantage down the right sideline. Hahn hit him for the 38 yard touchdown to get Louisville to within 24-21 with just 49 seconds gone in the second half.
Amazingly though, neither team scored the rest of the way. The Leopards converted two fourth downs on their next drive to march all the way to the Vikings 25. However, penalties set Louisville back and even took away what would have been a second touchdown pass from Hahn to Davis.
Louisville threatened three times in the fourth quarter. The Leopards turned the ball over on downs at the Vikings 33 just seconds into the the period. On their next drive, Louisville appeared to reach paydirt on a 37 yard Jet Sweep by Adams. However, the touchdown was wiped out by another penalty. Hoover’s Genetin would make the big play interception for the Vikings at their own 10 yard line to halt the Leopards drive on the next play.
Backed up under the shadow of their own goal post, North Canton faced a 3rd-and-12 from their own
8. Keller broke free of a sack dangerously close to his own endzone. He then scrambled for a 20 yard gain to move the sticks. This allowed the Vikings to milk an additional 67 seconds off the clock before getting a highlight worthy 66 yard punt from Eric Sarbaugh. The blast pinned Louisville on their Own 4 for one final drive with 3:04 remaining.
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Hahn completed passes to Hartline, Adams, and Davis to move the ball across midfield. Hahn then bulled ahead for 4 more yards for another Leopards first down to the Vikings 41. However, that’s where the drive stalled. Four straight incompletions turned the ball over on downs back to North Canton with 1:19 remaining. The Vikings ran the clock out from there.
Louisville lost despite out-gaining Hoover 396 to 299 in total yardage. The Leopards held a 282-163 yard advantage through the air, while the Vikings held a 136-114 edge on the ground.
The equalizer was turnovers, Louisville committed 4 while Hoover only committed 2. The two squads each recorded takeaways on back-to-back plays in the second quarter. The Vikings Ben Harris recovered a kickoff on the Leopards 21. Then on the very next play, Louisville’s Adams intercepted Keller at the goal line.
Early on, Vikings Senior Defensive Back Nick Binnie intercepted a pass and returned it to the Leopards 33 on the opening drive of the game. That led to a 35 yard field goal by Sarbaugh to give Hoover the early lead.
Louisville’s next drive also ended with a turnover. Senior Defensive Back Zach McHenry intercepted a desperation 4th-and-5 pass and returned it 30 yards to the North Canton 46. The Vikings did not initially capitalized on this turnover, but it did significantly flip field position in their favor.
Two possessions later, Hoover drove 47 yards on 8 plays to go ahead 10-0. Keller threaded the needle to Harris for a 6 yard touchdown strike with 11 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Keller would finish the night 15 of 20 passing for 163 yard. Harris was called upon the most in catching 7 passes for 31 yards for North Canton.
The two teams have now traded wins in each of the past 8 games of this rivalry, with both teams defending their home turf. Louisville still leads the all-time series 55-34-5, which includes a 25-20-2 mark at Hoover.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next host the Austintown Fitch Falcons on Friday, September 9 at 7:30 PM at Louisville Leopards Stadium.
Cover Photo Taken By Jim & Laura Photography
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H: 7:28 – Eric Sarbaugh 35 yd Field Goal
6 plays 34 yds
H: 0:11 – Ben Harris 6 yd pass from John Keller
Eric Sarbaugh PAT
8 plays 47 yds
H: 5:00 – Donnie Genetin 80 yd pass from John Keller
Eric Sarbaugh PAT
3 plays 80 yds
H: 1:36 – Nate George 33 yd run
Eric Sarbaugh PAT
3 plays 48 yds
North Canton: 10
Louisville: 28 carries for 114 yds
North Canton: 33 carries for 136 yds
Louisville: 19 of 37 for 282 yds 2 TD’s 3 INT’s
North Canton: 15 of 20 for 163 yds 2 TD’s 1 INt
North Canton: 2/1
North Canton: 2/23
3rd Down Conversions:
North Canton: 4/12
4th Down Conversions:
North Canton: 0/1
North Canton: Nate George: 13 6 carries 78 yds 1 TD
North Canton: Ben Harris: 7 catches 31 yds 1 TD
Louisville: Brody Hahn: 19 of 37 for 282 yds 2 TD’s 3 INT’s
North Canton: John Keller: 15 of 20 for 163 yds 2 TD’s 1 INT
Records: North Canton Hoover 2-0, Louisville 1-1