It was a game of big plays.
The Barberton football team had a few more than Cuyahoga Falls Sept. 13 as the Black Tigers lost to the Magics 56-21 at Barberton. The game was called about halfway through the fourth quarter due to lightning.
Cuyahoga Falls dropped to 2-1 on the season.
"Barberton is pretty good," Black Tigers head coach Shane Parker said. "They were definitely very fast and athletic across the board. They’re solid."
According to Parker, he and his players were disappointed in the result.
"We definitely had the mindset of going in there to win and it being a dogfight," he said. "We didn’t execute as well as I would’ve liked to have on offense early. Three turnovers dug us too big of a hole, and we weren’t really able to come back from that."
Those turnovers were three interceptions thrown by senior quarterback Braunavan Arsenault. Each led to a touchdown for Barberton, the first of which was a 20-yard pick-six that gave the Magics a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
"On the interceptions, Braunavan was trying to do too much by forcing things a little too much instead of taking what the defense gave us," said Parker.
The home team had taken a 7-0 lead on a 58-yard touchdown pass. Later in the first quarter a 16-yard touchdown run upped the Magics’ lead to 21-0.
In the second quarter senior running back Rob Graves’ eight-yard touchdown run capped a long drive and pulled Cuyahoga Falls within 21-7.
A 48-yard touchdown run and a 15-yard touchdown pass ballooned the Magics’ lead to 35 7 at halftime.
Barberton extended its advantage to 42-7 in the third quarter on a 64-yard touchdown run.
The Black Tigers made the score 42-14 on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Arsenault to senior tight end Alex Rowan.
"It was a very highly contested ball in the end zone," Parker said. "Alex was open when Braunavan threw the ball, but the defensive back was able to close down a little bit on him. They both went up for the ball, and Alex just used his body, size and athleticism and was able to make the catch over the defender. It was a really, really good play."
After Barberton scored a on a three-yard run to make the score 49-14, Arsenault and Rowan hooked up again, this time on a 55-yard touchdown pass that pulled the visitors to within 49-21.
"Braunavan hit Alex at about the 30 and Alex ran the ball untouched the rest of the way," said Parker. "It was a breakout performance for Alex. Things are clicking for him in regards to how to use his size and athleticism at the tight end position. I’m looking forward to more and more games like that from him as the weeks go on. I think he’s going to get better and better."
A seven-yard touchdown run by Barberton later in the third quarter accounted for the final points of the evening.
Graves rushed the ball 24 times for 117 yards.
"Rob had a good game," Parker said. "He’s the kind of back who gets better as the game goes on. He kind of wears on you and wears on you. He’s very punishing in that regard."
Senior running back Hunter Stanley also had a good game, rushing for 71 yards, including a 24-yarder, on just six carries.
"We got Hunter the ball on some counter plays, and he was able to take advantage of it," said the coach.
Junior safety Kobe Brown led Cuyahoga Falls with eight tackles, including one for a loss.
"Kobe had a fairly solid night coming down and hitting it on run support and coming up to the football on some of the shorter passes," Parker said.
Freshman defensive back Vonte Jackson had five tackles, while junior linebacker Johnny Cheek recorded four tackles.
With three tackles apiece were Stanley, who also played linebacker, senior defensive back Jacob Carleton, senior defensive lineman Donovan Mills and junior linebacker Jared Andrews.
"Jared had a pretty solid night," said Parker. "He was always around the football, which is where he needs to be. There were a lot of hustle plays from him."
Cuyahoga Falls was scheduled to open Suburban League National Conference play at North Royalton Friday
The Black Tigers are set to host National Conference rival Twinsburg Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.