Big plays doom Falls football in playoff game with Boardman

Roger Gordon
Cuyahoga Falls senior Isaiah Campbell dives to the secure the ball during a game against Aurora earlier this season.

A bad second quarter doomed the Cuyahoga Falls football team Oct. 9 at Boardman in a Division II first-round playoff game.

Four long plays accounted for 28 points in that disaster of a second period as the Spartans laid a whipping on the Black Tigers by the score of 35-0.

Cuyahoga Falls fell to 0-6 on the season.

“We made a couple mistakes early on in the second quarter that kind of snowballed,” head coach Shane Parker said. “One thing kind of led to another, our guys lost confidence in themselves a little bit and Boardman was able to jump out to a big lead at halftime.

“Boardman is a really good football team that has a pretty high seed in our region. To beat a team like that at their place, you have to play almost perfect.”

The Spartans took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Sean O’Horo ran for a 25-yard touchdown.

Then came the barrage of big plays in the second quarter.

First was a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown that upped the Boardman lead to 14-0. Then came a 49-yard TD pass from Jason Triveri to Cam Thompson that made the score 21-0. Triveri then connected with Terence Thomas on 39- and 62-yard touchdown passes for the game’s final points.

“The second half, we played Boardman fairly tough after we cleaned up the missed executions a little bit,” said Parker. “Our defensive performance was great in that second half. I thought we did a nice job of bottling things up and eliminating big plays.”

Cuyahoga Falls junior quarterback Tyler Harris completed 12 of 19 passes for 126 yards and an interception that led to a Boardman touchdown. He also ran for a 25-yard gain.

“Tyler had a pretty solid night throwing the football,” Parker said. “Some of the receivers left some plays out there because of dropped balls and not executing routes.”

Senior running back Kobe Brown rushed the ball 16 times for 114 yards, while senior running back Isaiah Campbell totaled 88 yards rushing on 12 carries. Their classmate, Elijah Hicks, another running back, had a 10-yard run and had an 18-yard reception.

“Kobe had another good night on the ground,” said the coach. “For somebody who is just transitioning to the position, he’s done a really nice job. He continues to get better every week. I’m really happy with the player he continues to grow into being. Isaiah had a decent night on the ground, too.

“Our running backs are doing a decent job. We still have some things we have to get cleaned up, but they’re running hard and doing what we’re asking them to do.”

Senior wide receiver Christian Casto had six receptions for 56 yards and ran the ball three times on reverses for 28 yards. Senior running back Isaac Puchajda caught two passes for 25 yards out of the backfield.

“Christian is one of our more athletic dudes, and he’s somebody who we have to be able to count on to make plays when plays are there,” Parker said. “He did a fairly decent job capitalizing on his opportunities.

“We knew going into the game that Boardman was kind of susceptible in the flat, so that was kind of our game plan, and Isaac was one of the guys who was going to help us there. He did a pretty good job catching balls and getting up field. Even if he knew he was going to get hit, he still made plays.”

Junior wide receiver Jayden Hillier had a single reception for 15 yards, while senior wideout Xavier Beasley had a 12-yard catch.

Senior inside linebacker Jonny Cheek had nine tackles, and junior safety/outside linebacker Isaiah Little totaled six tackles.

“Jonny has to have a good night for our defense to excel. He had a fairly decent night,” said Parker. “Isaiah had a nice night, too.

“A lot of our guys did a really nice nob of playing team defense, flying to the football and making plays when they got there, especially in the second half. There are still some things that we need to get cleaned up, learn how to capitalize a little bit better on and execute better.”

According to Parker, despite the win-loss record, his team is improving every week.

“We’re growing, we’re learning,” he said. “I’m confident in us moving forward.”

Cuyahoga Falls was scheduled to host Suburban League crossover rival Tallmadge Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.