By Phil Keren
CVCA used a powerful running game and mixed in some well-timed throws to defeat Kent Roosevelt 30-0 Friday night.
CVCA (1-1) head coach Nick Cook said his team has multiple players who will run the football for the Royals this season. The most carries on Friday came from senior Logan Scranton and sophomore Joey Kopec.
“Joey got great experience next to Kyle Snider last year,” Cook said. “Logan’s a great north-south kid.”
Scranton played multiple positions for the Royals last year.
“(Scranton) getting an opportunity in the backfield has been an important step for us,” Cook said. “He’s a good, tough physical runner.”
Kopec rushed for 101 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown, while Scranton had 72 yards on 16 attempts, and also had one score.
Kent Roosevelt (1-1) head coach Kardell Jackson said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I don’t think our kids quit,” Jackson said. “I was very proud of that … we still showed some fight and in the end, they just wore us down.”
CVCA opened the game with a nine-play, 63-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run from Scranton at 8:19 of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Kopec capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring run as he charged through the left side of the line. On the previous play, sophomore quarterback Charley Levak scrambled and eluded a few Roosevelt defenders on a 27-yard run.
Levak and junior signal-caller Ryan Wiehe (who started every game last year) are involved in a competition for the starting job. Wiehe started last week’s game against Streetsboro and played well, Cook said.
“We’re evaluating (the quarterbacks), and (Levak) did a great job tonight,” Cook added.
Levak completed 5-of-9 passes for 93 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Levak and Wiehe have “been competing in camp and like it does I think a lot of times, (the competition) bleeds into games because game play, you can’t replicate those reps,” Cook stated. “This week was part of that process.”
He said he and his staff will be evaluating each quarterback’s play so far and “see where we go.”
On the other sideline, Jackson said giving up long scoring drives hurt the Rough Riders’ offensive rhythm.
“Tonight our whole offense was off,” Jackson said. “When your defense is on the field for that long, and then your offense has limited opportunities, it’s going to throw off the rhythm of the quarterback, the offensive line and receiving group.”
Jackson noted that once his team found itself facing a big deficit, there was a bigger effort to try to get chunk plays.
“We get down and we start reaching for plays and we get away from what we can do best,” Jackson said.
Cook noted Roosevelt quarterback Jack Smith “can extend plays with his feet. There’s not always play calls for that stuff. It’s a matter of … playing your rules, trying to stay tight to routes.”
Cook added, “We teach our guys, if you can get tight to routes, you got opportunities to make a play with your hands. We’ve got to make a lot of plays with our hands. We can’t be loose on routes and tackling these guys eight, nine yards a pop down the field…we’ve got to get tight to things and try to get the ball, and I thought our kids did a great job with that.”
Roosevelt threw the ball deep several times, and Cook said he thought his players “were great with footwork and being in position.”
An example of being in good position happened when CVCA senior defensive back Dillon Webb intercepted a long throw from Smith down the sideline that was intended for senior wide receiver Lincoln Wade. That turnover gave CVCA the ball on its own 35-yard line. The Royals marched 50 yards in 13 plays in a drive that included an 18-yard pass from Charley Levak to Ricky Levak, and six carries by Scranton. Junior kicker Calvin Warren knocked the ball through the uprights from 32 yards out to give his team a 17-0 lead with 3:49 left in the first half.
On CVCA’s next possession, Roosevelt senior Tyrel Ellington intercepted a pass and returned it to the Royals’ 23-yard line. On the ensuing play, it was CVCA senior Grant Hayden’s turn to record an interception on a tipped ball.
In the second half, CVCA scored two touchdowns on back-to-back one-play scoring drives. Kopec broke through the Roosevelt en route to a 63-yard touchdown to put the Royals up 23-0 at 10:40 of the third quarter. The extra point attempt failed after a low snap was picked up by the holder, who tried to run it in, but was stopped short of the goal line. Then, CVCA did a pooch kick on its kickoff and in a mad scramble for the ball, Webb came up with the recovery for the Royals. Charley Levak then threw a 34-yard scoring strike to senior Ty Bova.
Cook called the touchdown pass to Bova “A classic momentum play. We needed that one.” To get that touchdown at that moment to secure the victory was “huge,” Cook added.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Kent Roosevelt, but a power outage at the school prompted a relocation of the contest to CVCA’s Royals Stadium in Cuyahoga Falls.
Jackson said he didn’t think changing sites affected the outcome of the game.
“We talk about adversity all the time,” said Jackson. “Tonight, adversity just won. That team, they were a physical team…I can’t say that with a home game that that outcome’s any different…we were locked in, we weren’t on top of our best game. We gave up too many big plays.”
Once they were trailing by multiple scores, Jackson said they “tried to speed some things up…when you’re down and you get running clock, you start looking for bigger plays and I think that affects a quarterback and it affects your receivers.”
Jackson said he felt his team can draw valuable lessons from Friday’s game.
“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “That’s a good football team. They’re a physical team and we’re going to see that the rest of the season, especially once we get into league play. We play in a physical league. So I think it was a good realization moment for us of where we need to be and where we need to improve. (It’s) a good experience for our young guys.”