Twinsburg's running game proves to be too much for Falls football

Steve Batko
Cuyahoga Falls' Kobe Brown looks for running room during the Black Tigers' 42-0 loss at Twinsburg Oct. 31

In a matchup of two Suburban League football teams that need to run the ball well to succeed, host Twinsburg got the better of Cuyahoga Falls.

As both coaches look to get extra reps for senior athletes, while at the same time, utilize their underclassmen talent pool, Twinsburg administered many of the positive plays in a 42-0 victory at Tiger Stadium.

Twinsburg moved to 3-5 overall behind one of its best games of the fall rushing the football.

Three different running backs scored for the Tigers, who amassed 357 total yards, but most importantly, had 222 yards rushing unofficially on 29 attempts.

“I thought it was a complete game by our team and we continue to improve,” said veteran head coach Mike Bell. “It was great to be able to run the ball.”

Senior running back Aaron Wallace posted career highs of 17 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 21-0 at the half.

“Aaron had a nice breakout game, which was nice to see and our offensive line was a big part of it,” explained Bell. “He (Wallace) did a real nice job.”

Twinsburg’s line included seniors Xavier Branch, Geshaun Robinson, Jordan Maxwell, and Mario Piccolomini, along with junior Tyson Jacobs.

Falls (0-9) also moved the ball pretty well – especially on the ground.

The Black Tigers managed to rush for 157 yards on 32 attempts unofficially.

Despite moving the ball well and showing some big-play ability, along with collecting nine first downs, Falls could not convert when it came to moving the ball deep in Tiger territory.

“We could not seem to get consecutive positive plays enough and you are going to have to have that when you have a young team like we do,” commented Falls head coach Shane Parker.

“I thought we ran the ball pretty well, but you have to be able to punch it in,” he added. “I was pretty happy with the way our kids competed,” added Parker.

Twinsburg opened the game with a 67-yard scoring drive – one of its more balanced drives of the season.

Impressive junior quarterback Trevor Horvath had three first down tosses while Wallace had a twisting and turning 16-yard TD run at the 9:56 mark of the first period.

Tiger junior placekicker Shantonu Banerjee booted the first of six extra points on a perfect night of kicking.

Falls later moved into Tiger territory, but on fourth down-and-3, senior Kobe Brown was stopped for a one-yard loss by Twinsburg senior end Quran Franklin.

Keyed by a 35-yard strike from Horvath, rolling to his left out of the pocket, to senior Alex Branch, Twinsburg scored on its next possession on a 12-yard jaunt by Wallace to make it 14-0 with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.

Two more first downs by Horvath – one on the ground and the other through air – pushed Twinsburg into Falls territory early in the second period, but the Black Tiger defense rose up.

On two plays on the drive, including on fourth and-6 from the Tiger 28, Falls junior cornerback Isaiah Little had excellent pass coverage to thwart the hosts passing game.

Then on the Black Tiger’s next play from scrimmage, senior running back Isaiah Campbell showed his speed as he exploded for a 45-yard run that was keyed by a perimeter block by Falls wide out Tyler Robinson.

Falls reached the Tiger 10, but a holding call on third down was followed by an incomplete pass over the middle of the field by junior quarterback Jayden Hillier on fourth-and-14 from the Twinsburg 21-yard line at the 5:44 mark of the first half.

Twinsburg responded with another score.

This time it was a 37-yard TD strike from Horvath to Branch.

Horvath used a pump fake and stayed patient and did a nice job leading Branch in stride as the speedster separated from the Falls defender. It was 21-0 with 3:52 left in the first half.

To start the second half, Falls moved the ball again into Tiger territory, but two flags stalled the drive when junior Tyler Harris had a booming 55-yard yard punt to win the field position battle.

However, Twinsburg was moving the ball again on the ground.

This time the Tigers started the second half with its first version of the full house backfield (featuring three running backs lined up behind Horvath forming a shape of a T).

On third down, junior Joe Bova, one of the up backs in the formation, got the ball and rambled for a career-best 63-yard touchdown run to push the score to 28-0.

“We had been working on the full house backfield and I told offensive coordinator Chris Knopick, let’s use it,” said Bell.

Once again, the Black Tigers drove into Twinsburg territory.

However, Hillier (57 yards passing) was pressured and threw a pass that was intercepted by senior Manny Curtis.

Curtis stepped in front of the ball and took off running, darting through the traffic and racing 72 yards for an exhilarating touchdown to make it 35-0 with 1:20 left in the third period.

“Manny just shot out of there on that pick-six,” Bell said. “Manny has been pretty consistent for us all year.”

Exciting sophomore defensive end Declan Malanchek was bearing down on Hillier just prior to the release of the pass.

Freshman running back Joey Jacofsky added an impressive 31-yard TD burst behind a gaping hole.

It was the first varsity TD for the promising 5-foot-8, 190-pound Jacofsky, who appears to be the Tiger back of the future with a combination of power and speed. He had a career high 40 yards on five totes.

“That was his first TD and he is a talented young player, who just has a natural ability to run the ball,” stressed Bell.

Horvath had 131 yards passing and a TD, plus 12 yards rushing. Branch had four catches for 90 yards.

Senior wide out Logan Genos had three catches for 41 yards and senior tight end Sir Ronte Hobdy had two receptions for four yards from sophomore backup QB Ryan Barnes. Senior Aiden Corrigan blocked well and ran for 12 yards on two attempts.

Campbell led Falls with 96 yards rushing on just nine carries. Brown added 54 yards on 18 carries.

Robinson led the Black Tigers with three receptions for 51 yards. He had a 36-yard catch on a nice pass by Hillier on a flea-flicker (Campbell got the carry and pitched back to the QB) late in the first half.

In the final action for the team’s senior class, Falls hosts Western Reserve Academy (2-2) Friday is the season finale.

“These games that are for our seniors, I don’t know that words can do it justice,” explained Parker, about the importance of playing a full 10-game schedule safely.

The Falls coach went on about the unique season and its challenges and how his athletes responded, both on and off the gridiron.

“I think what’s more important than wins and losses, is that these kids were able to compete and all of the life lessons and the memories that these young men were able to get,” stressed Parker.

Twinsburg’s schedule is pending, but the Tigers have appeared to pick up a home game Nov. 13 against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.