CVCA football falls to 0-2 despite big offensive game

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
.Football

It was a high-scoring, big-play, back-and-forth game Sept. 4 between Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and Principals Athletic Conference rival and host, Canal Fulton Northwest.

Combined, there were more than 1,000 total offensive yards.

In the end, the Indians took control in the fourth quarter en route to a 41-25 victory. The Royals dropped to 0-2 both overall and in the PAC-7.

“All in all, I was very pleased with our offensive performance,” CVCA head coach Dan Larlham said. “We only punted once. It was a rough night defensively, though. We’ve played two good teams, but we just haven’t gotten it done defensively.

“We also had a ton of young guys who were playing. Even if they’re not young on their birth certificate, they’re young by football experience standards. We didn’t come into the season with a ton of returning starters.”

Northwest took an early 7-0 lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass. CVCA pulled within 7-6 late in the first quarter when senior quarterback Michael Bevington scored up the middle on a four-yard touchdown run.

“It was a counter play,” said Larlham. “Michael had to break a couple tackles to get into the end zone. He’s very tough.”

Little more than a minute later, still in the opening quarter, Northwest extended its lead to 14-6 on a 49-yard touchdown pass.

Early in the second quarter, the Royals made the score 14-12 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Bevington to junior tight end Brant Simmons.

“Brant made a diving catch in the end zone that was pretty spectacular,” Larlham said.

CVCA took its only lead of the evening with 36 seconds left in the first half on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bevington to junior wide receiver Brendan Darr.

“It was a play-action pass,” said the coach. “We got into a formation that we typically run the football out of. Brennan did exactly what he was supposed to do. Michael threw a real easy, catchable ball. The score was partly set up by a successful onside kick.”

Northwest forged back ahead 21-18 in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Little more than three minutes later, the Indians increased their lead to 28-18 on an 85-yard touchdown pass.

CVCA pulled within 28-25 late in the third quarter on a six-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Kyle Snider.

“Kyle gets stronger as the game gets longer,” Larlham said. “That was just another example of that. He was able to punch it in.”

A 14-yard touchdown pass and a 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the game away for Northwest.

CVCA had a monster night on the ground.

The Royals churned out 336 rushing yards, led by Bevington’s 180 on 33 carries, including a 31-yard run. Snider rushed the ball 23 times for 142 yards, including a 22-yarder.

“It was a combination of the offensive line playing well and our good runners,” said Larlham. “Our game plan was really solid. Our running backs were able to break tackles when they had to. Between Michael and Kyle, we feel like we have one of the best one-two punches around.”

Bevington completed 12 of 21 passes for 172 yards with the two touchdowns plus two interceptions.

“Michael was a lot better than he was in week one throwing the football,” the coach said. “There’s always room to improve. He missed a few easy ones. He worked with the receivers all summer, all offseason. He’s trying to build his trust up with every one of them who we play. And they’re all young, so he wants to make sure he can trust that they’re going to be in the right spot. They run hard for him.”

CVCA totaled 508 offensive yards to 518 for Northwest.

Defensively for the visitors, senior safety Bryce Kightlinger and Snider, doubling at linebacker, led the way. Kightlinger had an interception.

CVCA was scheduled to host PAC-7 rival Orrville Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.

“The last few years, Orville has been the cream of the conference,” said Larlham. “It’s certainly not an easy test by any means, but if we can improve from week two to week three like we did from week one to week two, I think we have a real shot to beat them.