Not much has gone right for the Tallmadge football team this season.
If there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Blue Devils, they have a chance to end their season with a win.
Tallmadge lost its seventh straight game after falling to Suburban League American Conference powerhouse Barberton 37-0 Friday at Blue Devils Stadium.
For one half of play, the Blue Devils (1-8, 0-5) were still very much in the game against the powerful Magics.
In fact, Tallmadge had a chance to take the lead late in the first half. Unfortunately, that’s when everything started to fall apart.
"We had first and goal from the 10 and then we had a couple of negative plays," Blue Devils head coach Mike Hay said.
It only got worse.
Tallmadge tried a field goal, but an errant snap led to the kick being blocked.
The defense nearly bailed the Blue Devils out. Tallmadge forced a fumble, but the offense couldn’t generate any first downs.
As a result, the Blue Devils were forced to punt deep in their own territory. That didn’t go well at all.
"We had a two-yard punt," Hay said.
As a result, the Magics took over deep in Tallmadge territory and scored with less than a minute left in the half.
Sadly, the 2018 American Conference champions showed no mercy after halftime.
Barberton (6-3, 4-1) scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to put the game out of reach.
"We felt really good at halftime against a playoff team," Hay said. "The second half was a war of attrition. Our numbers aren’t great. Barberton played well."
The Magics outgained the Blue Devils 303-158, including 183-26 on the ground. Ben Blankenship had five tackles, including a sack and a fumble recovery, and Jesse Kanatzar and Luke Thomas each finished with five tackles for Tallmadge.
"Jesse played well," Hay said. "Ben and Eli [Zander] were constantly in their backfield."
Brandon Heigelmann led the Blue Devils’ offense with three receptions for 110 yards. He also blocked a field-goal attempt by Barberton. Mason Dexter recovered a fumble for Tallmadge.
"I was proud of the kids’ effort," Hay said. "They played inspired football. They played hard, intense and physical. The score wasn’t indicative of how well they played."
The Blue Devils are scheduled to visit conference rival Highland in their season finale Nov. 1 at North Gateway Tire Field in Granger Township. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"We’re asking our underclassmen to play their last game for our seniors," Hay said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.