McKinley 42, Jackson 12 (Fri Sep 24-2010)
Federal League game at
Fawcett Stadium, Canton
Bulldogs bounce back
Updated: Friday, September 24, 2010
CANTON No Elijah Farrakhan? A dropped touchdown pass to open the game? Missed Bulldogs tackles and penalties?
McKinley made plenty of mistakes Friday, but the Bulldogs' 42-12 Federal League victory over Jackson at Fawcett Stadium was all about bouncing back strong.
"We came out locked in tonight, just really wanting to have fun," said McKinley head coach Ron Johnson after his team broke a two-game skid to improve to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the league. "it's amazing that if you play hard, play relaxed and have fun, good things happen."
It helps to forget the negatives that come after back-to-back losses. "Next is the greatest word in football," Johnson said.
"Coach told us, don't worry about the last play," said defensive end Se'Von Pittman. "Don't reminisce about the past.
"That's what we do, listen to coach. And it paid off."
With Farrakhan still out due to injury, Sa'Veon Holloway stepped in at halfback and made McKinley fans forget about him for at least another night. A revitalized Bulldogs offensive line ran over the Polar Bears for 332 yards and five touchdowns, with Holloway collecting career highs of 31 carries and 210 yards, including touchdowns of 52, 5 and 4 yards.
"The next guy got his chance," Johnson said of Holloway.
Quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky shook off a dropped touchdown pass by Tyler Foster and came back to Foster later for a big 13-yard first down that set up McKinley's third score in the first half.
"Tyler came back, he made a great catch," Johnson said. "He responded the right way."
Ohradzansky did, too. After the drop and his first interception of the season -- a pick-six by Jimmy Dehnke -- he was sharp throwing the ball and ignored four drops in all to go 9-of-17 for 96 yards.
But the key was the Bulldogs defense blanking the Bears in the second half. They had some ferocious hitting and gang tackling after Jackson hung around at halftime, down 28-12.
Dehnke made the big plays to keep Jackson alive, scoring both its touchdowns. Dehnke took Cooper Merrillâ€™s 10-yard, third-down pass, split two McKinley defenders and raced 76 yards to the end zone to put the Polar Bears on the board in the second quarter.
Down 28-6 with barely a minute left in the first half, Dehnke read Ohradzanskyâ€™s out pass at McKinley's 32 and took it to the house to keep Jackson in the game.
"Dehnke had a really good game; He's a weapon on offense," Jackson head coach Beau Balderson said. "We need more of those. Obviously, we need to move the ball better to be able to stay in games like this."
But Dehnke got nailed by Pittman running a counter in the third quarter and had to be taken off the field. Jackson never got inside the McKinley 40 again as the Bulldogs got into high gear.
"With all the talent they have, they shouldnâ€™t have lost a game this year," Balderson said. "I'll say that right now. It's ridiculous that they (have).
"But our kids came to play. We're a young team and we're going to keep getting better."
McKinley's a good team. Friday, it forgot it has two losses.
"we've got our swagger back at Canton McKinley," Pittman said with a huge smile on his face. â€œAnd we're going to bring it next week."
Scouting Jackson at McKinley
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010
The teams: The Jackson Polar Bears hung tough with defending Federal League champion GlenOak last week, trailing just 7-3 after a third quarter field goal. GlenOak, though, took control down the stretch thanks to standout junior running back Briâ€™onte Dunn and came away with a 28-9 win to drop the Polar Bears 2-2. Second-year coach Beau Balderson has the Jackson offense focusing more on the running game this season, thanks to a line that has been the most consistent part of the offense thus far. Junior Ryan Prosise anchors the unit at center, while the Bears have been getting good play from tackles Darien Terrell, Zack Sewell and Tony Reed. Another factor in Baldersonâ€™s choice to run the ball more is the collection of capable backs he has this year. Seniors Will Logan and Rob Calhoun, as well as junior Jimmy Dehnke, have all contributed carrying the ball at some point through four games. The biggest reason for the increased reliance on the running game is the athleticism of junior quarterback Cooper Merrill, who has shown himself to be a very dangerous threat on keeper plays out of Jacksonâ€™s multiple-formation, shotgun offense. Balderson said the line didn't perform up to its normal standards in last weekâ€™s loss to GlenOak and will be looking for improvement there this week. Merrill is also efficient throwing the ball, with Jake Vellucci being among his favorite targets. Defensively, the Polar Bearsâ€™ odd-front scheme has gotten better at reducing the big plays it allows. Dehnke and Logan provide support from the secondary, while linebackers Charlie Dear, Mike Todich and Nate Locke are settling into their roles the more experience they gain.
McKinleyâ€™s run to what many observers felt would be a Federal League title has come off the tracks early this season. After opening with a pair of wins, the Bulldogs have dropped consecutive games to Lake and Fitch to fall to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in the league. Last week, McKinley squandered a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter before Fitch eventually won on a field goal with less than two minutes to play. One of coach Ron Johnsonâ€™s primary issues at the moment is developing a consistent running game to take some of the pressure off senior quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky. McKinley has been held below 100 yards rushing in each of its last two losses. One factor has been the absence of senior running back Elijah Farrakhan, who left the Lake game in the first quarter with an injury and did not play last week. Junior Sa'Veon Holloway has stepped in and assumed the primary ball-carrying responsibilities. The Bulldogs have two outstanding playmakers on defense in linemen Steve Miller, on Ohio State commit, and Se'Von Pittman. At 6-foot-4, 242 pounds, Miller creates mismatches wherever he lines up, while the 6-5, 235-pound Pittman can take advantage of the double-teams that Miller may create to make plays.
The key matchup: Despite the presence of Miller and Pittman up front, the Bulldogs have actually lost the battle along the line of scrimmage the last two weeks. That will undoubtedly be a focus for Johnson and his coaching staff this week, especially since Jacksonâ€™s offensive line has been performing at a high level for most of the season. If the Bulldogs' big-time players assert themselves, it could make life difficult for the Bears. But if Jackson can get a consistent push up front and create some running lanes it could spring an upset against the Bulldogs.
Streaks, stats and facts: The Bulldogs posted a 44-28 win at Jackson, as they piled up 396 yards rushing against the Polar Bears defense. ... McKinley rushed for just 54 yards on 36 attempts in last weekâ€™s loss to Fitch. A week earlier, Lake held the Bulldogs to 96 yards on 41 rushes. ... Holloway has stepped in for Farrakhan and done an admirable job, as he gained 70 yards on 20 carries. ... Ohradzansky was 12-of-21 passing for 192 yards and also ran for a pair of short TDs last week. ... Ohradzanskyâ€™s top target was Christian Thompson, who had four catches for 83 yards. ... Merrill led the Bears again in rushing last week, as he gained 81 yards on 26 carries. Merrill was also 12-of-23 passing for 117 yards. ... Calhoun caught a 5-yard scoring pass from Merrill for Jacksonâ€™s lone TD against GlenOak. ... The Bearsâ€™ reliance on the running game is evidenced by their 211 rushing attempts and just 64 pass attempts through four weeks. The Bears have 698 yards rushing and 355 passing yards. ... Junior Perry Billett connected on a 24-yard field goal last week, his first this season for the Bears.
Coach speak: â€œTheir defensive line is pretty good, obviously," Jacksonâ€™s Balderson said. "They're definitely one of the tops in the area with those bookends they have in Pittman and Miller and then (Eric) Snow in the middle. They're tough to run against and they have great team speed.
"We're going to have to avoid the pre-snap penalties and also be physical on both sides of the line."
â€œIâ€™ve seen Jackson twice in person and Iâ€™ve been really impressed," McKinley's Johnson said. "They're really flying around to the ball and playing hard. They're significantly improved from last year and They're going in the right direction. They tackle extremely well and pursue the ball well on defense."
-- DAVID HARPSTER
McKinley looking for 48 minutes
Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Part-time football won't cut it, no matter how talented the team.
it's a lesson the McKinley High School football team has learned the hard way.
"We're pretty good when we play hard," McKinley head coach Ron Johnson said. "We just have to finish things and make sure we play for 48 minutes."
The Bulldogs, who host Jackson on Friday night at Fawcett Stadium, find themselves at 2-2 after consecutive losses to Lake and Fitch.
This isn't the start that was expected from a McKinley team labeled as a state-title contender in the preseason.
"We've made some great plays, and we've played hard," Johnson said. "But given the opportunity to make a difference-maker play, we haven't done it. we've had opportunities and we just haven't gotten it done."
McKinley's struggle to put together four good quarters crept up in wins versus Gallatin (Tenn.) and Huber Heights Wayne to begin the season.
The Bulldogs jumped ahead of Gallatin, 32-0, early in the third quarter before putting it in cruise control and settling for a 32-14 win. They didn't knock out Wayne, failing to finish a couple of scoring chances and letting a team playing without Braxton Miller hang around for three quarters in a 26-0 win.
Against Lake in Week 3, the Bulldogs fell behind 14-0 and 21-6 and couldnâ€™t dig out from the opening 16 minutes before falling, 21-14.
Against Fitch, the final 16 minutes did them in, with Fitch overcoming a 21-7 third-quarter deficit and winning, 24-21. A potential game-winning TD pass in the final seconds couldnâ€™t be controlled for McKinley.
"We just have to step up and make some plays, and I think our guys will," Johnson said. â€œThey can see it, and They're very committed to getting it done."
Johnson assures his players, who probably have confidence imbedded in their DNA, arenâ€™t going into panic mode.
"They're frustrated and disappointed because we let two get away from us," Johnson said. "But they don't question their ability at all."
Plus, history is on their side.
The Bulldogs were 2-2 last year and 4-4 before reeling off four straight wins -- during which they qualified for the playoffs with a Week 10 win against Massillon. They advanced to a regional final, where they lost to Massillon in a rematch.
Johnson isn't interested in history lessons and won't draw parallels.
"It's a totally different team and a totally different set of circumstances," he said of this year's team. â€œOur guys know it and see it on film and are very introspective. They understand what they have to do."
Keep in mind, McKinley's first four opponents are a combined 13-3 right now, with two of the losses being to the Bulldogs and the other to Cincinnati Moeller.
â€œThe only thing that ever really gets our ire is lack of effort," Johnson said. "I think you could see there was certainly no lack of effort (against Fitch). Our guys played hard against a darn good football team. there's just some things we have to do physically and mentally to finish plays that weâ€™ll work diligently on this week."
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- McKinley receiver Zach Sweat eyes the end zone after making a catch in the Bulldogs’ 42-12 win over the Jackson Polar Bears at Fawcett Stadium on Friday night. Sweat was tackled on the 1-yard line.
- Zach_Sweat_vs_Jackson.jpg (130.15 KiB) Viewed 1244 times
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