The Tallmadge football team has been spending its Friday nights in its new state-of-the-art turf stadium after playing many years on a grass field at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.
Let’s just say the new venue hasn’t been particularly kind to the Blue Devils thus far.
Host Tallmadge dropped to 1-2 on the season after losing to Akron Coventry 27-6 Friday at Tallmadge Blue Devils Stadium. The Blue Devils have played all three of their games at their new facility.
The Comets had a 21-0 lead at halftime and didn’t look back. Coventry scored touchdowns on its first two plays to put Tallmadge in a considerable hole right away.
"We had a few mental and physical breakdowns that led to a few big plays," Blue Devils head coach Mike Hay said.
Calvin Dudley reached the end zone three times for the Comets. He had touchdown rushes of 41 and 20 yards, respectively, and also had an interception for another score. Holden Mullenax added a 54-yard TD run for the Coventry.
"They were just simple, inside run plays," Hay said. "We didn’t execute on our end. They have some talented running backs. Two of their three touchdowns went untouched because we were misaligned."
The Comets’ offense cooled off rather noticeably the rest of the way, thanks to Tallmadge’s stout defense.
"After those mistakes were corrected, the defense played incredible," Hay said. "They [the Comets] didn't’ get too many yards after the first two plays. Our offense couldn’t match our defensive intensity."
Keahn Taylor scored the Blue Devils’ lone touchdown when he blocked a punt and returned it into the end zone.
Tallmadge finished with just 89 yards of total offense. Drew Cross, who threw four touchdown passes and had more than 300 yard passing the previous week, finished with just 94 yards.
"We moved the ball pretty well," Hay said. "We got in the red zone three times. We had some opportunities to make plays and we failed to do so.
"We never quit. Our defense created three turnovers to put our offense in a good position. I truly believe our defense can be very good."
The Blue Devils have been battling some injuries and most recently, a flu bug.
"We had a couple of offensive linemen go down," Hay said. "We’ve had a lot of kids miss practice. Hopefully, we can get healthy."
Tallmadge hoped to get its ship in order in Bath Township. The Blue Devils are scheduled to visit Revere in their 2019 Suburban League American Conference debut Friday at Joseph F. Pappano Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"We start a new season," Hay said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.