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  Boardman Manhandles Cuyahoga Falls 49-0 In First-Ever Playoff Win At Spartan Stadium  
  Iganazio’s Team Moves On To Face 5-1 Painesville Riverside:   October 15, 2020 Edition  
     BY GREG GULAS
      Boardman News Sports
      bnews@zoominternet.net
      The Boardman Spartans’ football program fielded its very first varsity team in 1917 and over the years has produced a myriad of gridiron memories.
      After 104 years of exciting action, they can finally add a home playoff victory to their ever expanding grid resume.
      Terence Thomas scored three touchdowns, Jason Triveri threw for three scores and a stingy Boardman defense held winless Cuyahoga Falls to just 165 total offensive yards as the Spartans stunned the Black Bears, 49-0, in opening round action of the Division II, Region 5 playoffs last Friday at Spartans Stadium.
      Thomas and Triveri were instrumental in the Spartans racking up 422 offensive yards, 205 of which came on the ground as Sean O’Horo led the way with 135 yards and a touchdown on tencarries. Fernando Ortiz added another 110 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
      “It feels great to get the program’s first ever home playoff win,” Triveri said. “It’s just a special feeling and I feel blessed to be the quarterback. Our goal was to work hard and outplay them in every area of the game.
      “Terence is a freak, that’s all I can say. You give him the ball and he can do whatever with it. You just throw it up to him and bang, it’s a touchdown waiting to unfold.”
      Boardman (4-3) won the toss and elected to receive but it took them almost a full quarter to kick start their offense.
      Once they did score, however, it was just a matter of whether the running clock would be invoked to begin second half action.
      O’Horo got the Spartans on the board first, capping a nine play, 76 yard drive with a 19 yard scamper to give BHS a 7-0 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the opening period.
      For O’Horo. winning the program’s first ever playoff game is a satisfying feeling.
      “It means the world to us, just to know that we’re the only team ever to do it,” he added. “Knowing we’re going to go down in history and that it’s going to stick with us the rest of our lives is just awesome.
      “As we prepare for next week’s playoff game at Painesville Riverside, we just need to keep playing together. If they get a good play, just come back the next play and keep playing as one unit. We knew that Cuyahoga Falls ran a pretty basic offense but we didn’t want to underestimate them. We worked all week on stopping their offense and I think we executed that really well tonight.”
      If the game belonged to Boardman then Thomas arguably owned the second quarter.
      After O’Horo’s touchdown, the Spartans’ defense forced a three-and-out and when Black Bears punter Tyler Harris punted from his own 19 yard line, Thomas fielded the sphere then gracefully raced 54 yards to the house for a 14-0 lead just 32 seconds into the second frame.
      Triveri then connected with Cam Thompson with a 49 yard touchdown strike for the first of his three touchdown passes to extend the lead to 21-0 at the 8:03 mark, following that up with scoring strikes to Thomas from 39 yards away (1:54) on the opening play of their next to last drive of the first half then from 61 yards out (:44) on their final drive to forge a 35-0 halftime advantage.
      “This is a very special moment because we worked hard for this,” Thomas stated. “It feels so good to be the first group to accomplish this feat and win a home play-off game. We felt like we needed to get the ball to our playmakers and let them do what they do best, to make them miss and get into the endzone.”
      Thomas said Triveri has been excellent under center since his return.
      “The connection with Jason at quarterback has been really good,” Thomas noted. “It spaces out the offense, leaves the defense guessing and keeps everyone in touch. Looking ahead to this week, we need to stay aggressive and just keep doing what we do on both sides of the ball if we expect to advance.”
      Thompson echoed Thomas’ assessment and connection with Triveri.
      “Jason has been throwing passes to me since sixth grade and we’ve connected on a different level every year,” Thompson said. “Having him back has really been helpful for our offense because we now have Terence at wide out and he can still run the ball when asked to do so.
      “Tonight, we had great second effort from everyone when they had the ball and that effort produced quite a few yards after the initial hit.”
      At halftime, the Spartans racked up 227 yards offensively – 57 on the ground and 170 through the air – while holding the Black Bears (0-6) to just 44 total yards – 28 rushing and 16 passing – on 28 plays, an average of just 1.6 yards per snap.
      With a running clock set to begin the second half, fans that were in attendance got a glimpse of the Spartans’ offensive future when sophomore running back Fernando Ortiz, much like Thomas and Thompson, broke several tackles en-route to a 42 yard touchdown scamper to extend the lead to 42-0 heading to the final stanza.
      Junior Marcel Tomlin then finished off the scoring with a one-yard tally with 1:40 remaining to secure their 49-0 post-season victory.
      On Cuyahoga Falls’ final drive of the game and with the Spartans looking to preserve their shutout, Black Bears running back Kobe Brown – he was CFHS’s leading rusher with 89 yards on 16 carries – broke free from his own 20 yard-line for a 43 yard run and it looked like he might hit paydirt, but was caught from behind at the Spartans’ 37 yard line by Joel Cuevas-Pixley to preserve the shutout.
      Two more plays yielded no gain and an incomplete pass before the final gun sounded on the Spartans’ victory.
      The touchdown saving tackle yielded more than just a shutout, according to Boardman head coach Joe Ignazio.
      “It just talks about our young kids and the ownership that they take. They see how hard our older guys work and how important that is to them,” Ignazio stated after the game. “They know our defensive staff has to buy doughnuts for them when they pitch a shutout so those seniors are extremely proud tonight for that touchdown saving tackle.”
      Ignazio lauded his team’s second effort.
      “Terence is tremendously athletic and hard to bring down,” Ignazio added. “He’s just so shifty. Sean [O’Horo] is more of a power horse . He’s got that wrestling background and is tough as nails. Fernando is a big back who complements Sean well, has been really patient playing behind a kid like Sean and got his opportunity tonight so we’re extremely proud of him.”
      For Ignazio and his staff, the take-away from the game is what the Spartans will hang their hat on as they prepare for No. 6 seeded Painesville Riverside on Friday evening.
      “A win is a win but we said we wanted to get in, make some noise and beat good football teams,” he added. “Riverside is going to be a good football team. We’re going to get back, watch film and continue to grow.
      “Our maturation process has gotten a little bit better but in big games, we need to eliminate mistakes and grow as a football team and we’ll plan on doing that on the road this week.”
      In addition to O’Horo’s 99 yards, Ortiz logged the ball six times for 84 yards and a score in a little over a quarter of action with Triveri finishing 6-of-11 for 170 yards and three touchdowns with an interception on his second drop-back the only tarnish on his final stat line.
      Thomas caught four passes for 114 yards and two scores while Thompson added his one reception for a 49 yard score to pace the Spartans offensively.
      Cuyahoga Falls was led by Brown’s 89 yards on 16 carries, an average of 5.6 yards every time he touched the ball while as a team, the Black Bears posted 165 total yards of offense – 119 on the ground and 46 through the air – on 49 plays from scrimmage, an average of a mere 3.4 yards per snap.
      Both teams suffered penalties during critical drives with the Spartans penalized eight times for 65 yards and CFHS four times for a negative 49 yards walked off.
      Kickoff with the Beavers is set for 7 p.m.
       GAME NOTES: With their loss to the Spartans, the Black Bears remained winless this season at 0-6 and dating to last year, when they won their first two games of the campaign, they have now lost 14 consecutive contests…In six games this season, CFHS has now been outscored by a 224-44 count…They are 15-91 (.142 winning percentage) since the start of the 2010 season…With the win, Boardman is now 3-0 in three games played against their Summit County foes…The Spartans have played Painesville Riverside twice before and own a 2-0 overall mark against the Beavers....Painesville enters playoff action with a 5-1 log, including three shutout victories. The Beavers only loss was against Chardon, 35-7.....A beast on the defensive side of the ledger for Boardman all year long is conerback Sean O’Horo who was all over the field against C-Falls. He posted three tackles for losses against the Black Tigers, while Stephen Conti, Jake Powell and Jaheim Johnson also played strong....Boardman Head Coach Joe Ignazio looks at this weekend’s playoff game this way---“This game gives a chance to beat a good football team. Riverside is big and physical. They are very disciplined in all phases of the game. They are fundamentally sound in their schemes. Their QB does a good job managing what they do. Their tailback is big and runs hard. They run a 3-3 stack defensively and do not want to break it. So, they are going to have six guys in the box at all times. It should be a tremendous football game.
      “Our young men are excited for the opportunity. Time will tell if they can face the challenge of being on the road. Painesville is a hike. We are excited to represent our families, school, and community.”
 
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