Copley runs away late from Cuyahoga Falls football in opener

Jimmy Miller
Akron Beacon Journal
Cuyahoga Falls quarterback Tyler Harris, left, is sacked by Copley defensive end Nick Ezzie during the Black Tigers' 40-6 loss to Copley at Clifford Stadium Sept. 4.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Copley junior Preston Taylor said he was just happy to play football.

Taylor admitted he wondered earlier this summer if they’d actually get to play. Coach Jake Parsons said their game against Cuyahoga Falls was only the third time his players wore pads since last fall, this after a scrimmage against Revere last weekend.

Against odds that once felt slim, Taylor made the most of his opportunity to play, paving the way for Copley’s 40-6 win Sept. 4 over the Black Tigers. He scored the game’s first three touchdowns, all of which came before the game seemed out of grasp for the Black Tigers (0-1).

“It feels great to know that we got to play one,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to take the moment you get. It’s week by week. It was great being out here on Friday night again.”

Taylor first scored in the second quarter, punching it in from just a yard away from the goal line. Copley’s senior quarterback Joe Reho had nearly scored the play prior when he stretched for the pylon, but was ultimately ruled short.

After halftime, Taylor kept the offense going with a 15-yard touchdown run after a Black Tigers pass interference penalty breathed new life in a drive that was about to stall on fourth down. Taylor again scored in the third quarter from 6 yards out, and Reho put the game away for good when he later scrambled 3 yards into the end zone.

“Preston’s a talented kid,” Parsons said. “He’s tough to tackle, he doesn’t get winded. I’m really happy with how he played tonight.”

Senior Darryl Pringle only added to the lopsided score with his 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Cuyahoga Falls senior Kobe Brown scored on Copley’s second-team defense with a 60-yard touchdown run.

Copley senior Aaron Clayton scored from 5 yards out to put the Indians (1-0) ahead by 36 points. At that point, Parsons sent out freshman quarterback Daone Owens to get some varsity experience.

“We’re just happy to play. With all this that’s going on, the fact that we were able to put out a product that the kids are proud of, we’re just happy,” Parsons said. “Our kids really stayed motivated [in the offseason]. We’ve got a great senior group [14 seniors]. I’m really proud of that group and they’ve earned this win tonight.”

The Black Tigers had their chances, particularly when the game was still tight.

Falls held the Indians scoreless in the first quarter but just didn’t have much going offensively until halftime.

But on third down to open the second half, junior quarterback Tyler Harris launched a ball intended for senior Christian Casto that would’ve put them well past midfield.

But the ball fell incomplete instead, and for the seventh time at that point in the game, the Black Tigers offense sputtered out.

By the time Brown scored on his electrifying 60-yard touchdown — the longest scoring play of the night — it was much too late for the Black Tigers.

Meanwhile, quality defensive play set up Taylor and the Indians offense along the way. Parsons said his defense, led by coach Chad Anderson, is an aggressive, blitz-heavy unit and, as he said, “that showed tonight.”

Senior defensive end Antoine Campbell Jr. — a Vanderbilt recruit — got things going with an interception at the line of scrimmage in the first quarter. Although the Indians missed a field goal on the other end, Copley still ended up capitalizing on Black Tigers miscues. Sophomore Luke Brenner’s interception set up a Taylor score, and sophomore Ben Firestine’s interception led to Pringle’s touchdown.

Senior Zach Brown also blocked the extra point on the Black Tigers’ lone score and sophomore defensive lineman Aidan Gribschaw recovered a Cuyahoga Falls fumble late in the game.

Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to play Revere Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.