Big fourth quarter allows Copley to run away from Tallmadge football

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Tallmadge senior San Taylor blocks a punt during the first half of Talmmadge's 47-14 home loss to Copley Sept. 17.

TALLMADGE — Tallmadge coach Mike Hay looked shellshocked after his team's loss to Copley Sept. 17.

For three quarters, Hay had been happy with his team's effort, as Tallmadge trailed just 14-7 heading into the fourth.

"We were right there," Hay said. "They had fourth and [six] at our [26] and we if stop them, we get the ball back with a chance to score. Then you blink and we're down by four scores."

The fourth quarter was a nightmare for the Blue Devils' defense, as Copley scored 33 points in the final quarter, turning a close game into a 47-14 rout.

Copley improved to 3-0, 1-0 in the Suburban League American Conference, while Tallmadge dropped to 0-3, 0-2 in the American Conference.

"It's disheartening," Hay said. "There's no excuses, no matter how many guys we have out on defense. Our defense played excellent for three quarters, but for some reason, we completely fell apart."

Tallmadge senior Dylan Phelps runs an interception back for a touchdown during the Blue Devils' 47-14 home loss to Copley Sept. 17.

Copley coach Jake Parsons noted, despite the scoreline, he knew his team would be in for a battle with Tallmadge.

"Tallmadge can really throw the football," Parsons said. "They do a good job with their passing game and they've got a very good quarterback."

"We tried to pick up the pace at the end," he added. "We did a good job with outside zone [rushes] and went from there."

Copley's edge in the rushing game was overwhelming, as it finished with a 352-35 edge in running yards.

"That is a concern," Hay said. "The running game will definitely be a focus for us in practice this week."

Tallmadge had its chances early in the contest, as Copley's first drive ended with a blocked punt from Tallmadge's Sam Taylor.

However, the Blue Devils could do nothing with the possession. Copley would take advantage of Tallmadge's first mistake, as Ryan Poundstone picked off Tallmadga quarterback Ty Hurst.

Copley cashed in with a 24-yard swing pass from Joe Reho to Antoine Campbell Jr. for a touchdown with 7 minutes left in the first half.

Tallmadge's offense was stuck in neutral for most of the half, as Hurst had an up-and-down night. The sophomore went 17-of-41 for 177 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Copley would double its advantage when Preston Taylor ran in a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:43 left in the first half.

It was the start of a big night for Taylor, who finished with 25 rushes for 210 yards and four touchdowns, though he didn't really get rolling with until the fourth quarter.

Tallmadge's best scoring chance of the first half was denied when a 41-yard field goal attempt from Reece Parry was blocked as time expired.

Tallmadge came out of the locker room firing. Its opening second-half drive was highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Hurst to Mason Dexter on fourth-and-15 at the 35.

The Blue Devils eventually got down to the Copley 1-yard line — but no further. The Indians stuffed Tallmadge running back Nate Amato for no gain on fourth-and-goal at the one.

"We need to become a more physical football team," Hay said. "Good football teams are able to get one yard when they need it. We had three cracks at it and didn't make it."

"We can't give up a 30-yard pass on fourth and [15]," Parson said. "When we got down there, though, our guys did a great job knuckling under and stopping them,"

Tallmadge had another drive in the third quarter end with a turnover on downs in Copley territory.

With the offense sputtering, Tallmadge's defense took matters into its hands.

For the second straight week, Tallmadge snagged a pick six. This time, senior defensive back Dylan Phelps intercepted a pass at the 50 and returned it all the way, cutting the score to 14-7 with 1:35 left in the third.

Tallmadge had the chance to stop Copley to start the fourth quarter. Instead, Taylor ran for eight yard on fourth-and-six and on the next play ran in a 18-yard touchdown. Copley missed the extra point, keeping it at 20-7.

Tallmadge would respond with its biggest offensive play of the night. Hurst threw a 47-yard bomb to Collin Dixon, who got behind the Copley defense for the touchdown. Parry's extra point cut the lead to 21-14 with 10:34 left in the game.

Dixon led Tallmadge with seven catches for 89 yards.

With the fans making noise, it seemed the Blue Devils would take the game to the wire. However, that's when the nightmare for Tallmadge.

Copley needed only three plays to respond to the touchdown, as Darryl Pringle ran in a 10-yard jet sweep for a TD with 9:57 left.

Then, after Copley stopped Tallmadge on fourth down at midfield, Taylor ripped off a 27-yard sweep for a touchdonw.

Copley kept pouring it on after Nick Ezzie intercepted Hurst and returned it to the Tallmadge 22. Two plays late, Taylor was back in the end zone with a 20-yard run.

Copley completed the rout with its longest run of the night, as Pringle took a jet sweep down the left sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.

Pringle finished with 101 yards rushing on just five carries.