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  Ursuline Smacks Boardman, 40-13  
  September 17, 2020 Edition  
     BY GREG GULAS
      Boardman News Sports
      bnews@zoominternet.net
      This past Friday, it took just 23 seconds for the visiting Ursuline Fighting Irish to wrest the game’s momentum from the Boardman Spartans.
      On the second play of the game, Ursuline’s Jakylan Irving picked off Boardman quarterback Terence Thomas’ errant pass and raced 36-yards to the house for the early 7-0 advantage and a momentum swing from which the Spartans could not recover.
      The score turned the highly anticipated smash-mouth football game turned into an early 21-0 deficit with the Spartans eventually falling to the visiting Irish, 40-13 at Spartan Stadium.
      The win matched Ursuline’s win total from a season ago when they went 2-8 overall in head coach Dan Reardon’s return to the helm while also avenging a 34-19 loss suffered at the hands of the Spartans at YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium last October 18.
      The game also marked the 42nd renewal of the series with the Spartans now clinging to a 22-19-1 lead.
      “We didn’t come ready to play and that’s on me,” BHS head coach Joe Ignazio said after the game. “Right from the get-go, I mean we go kick-return, drop the ball, not sustaining blocks and they just seemed to play a step or two faster than us all night long.
      “I thought we came out a little bit more lively the second half but at that point, when you’re on a continuous clock, it’s too late and I’m disappointed that we weren’t playing with more pride against an opponent like that.”
      Boardman’s second series stalled and on Ursuline’s ensuing series, Trent Hill found the endzone (7:56) from a yard away and when Matthew Reardon added the placement, the Fighting Irish extended their lead to 14-0 by capping their seven-play, 76-yard drive in exactly 2:00.
      Ursuline rode the momentum they generated by perfectly executing an on-side kick that was recovered on Boardman’s 36 yard-line by DeMarcus McElroy.
      The Spartans held, couldn’t generate any offense on their next series with punter Carson Essad perfectly placing his punt as it pinned UHS at their own nine yard-line.
      Facing third down with three yards needed for a first-down, UHS running back Dante Walker negotiated the Spartans’ defense for 84 yards and a score as the Fighting Irish opened a 21-0 margin heading to the second period of play.
      “When you go the second play of the game for a touchdown, it puts you in a bind but we talk to our kids that you’ve got to respond,” Ignazio added. “Are you going to pack it in and let them ram it right down the field again and that’s exactly what happened. We’ve got to deal with adversity, mature a little bit and we’ll get back after it.”
      Ursuline (2-1) extended their lead to 27-0 on Hill’s second score from a yard away at 9:22 of the second stanza (the placement failed) and when UHS signal-caller Brady Shannon found Terrell Dillworth from 31-yards out (the point after try failed for the second consecutive time), the Fighting Irish built a 33-0 lead heading to the locker room at intermission and a running clock to begin the second half.
      Shannon guided UHS to 351 total offensive yards in the opening 24 minutes of action, including 208-yards on the ground while the stingy Irish defense held the Spartans (1-2) to just 130 yards – 71 yards rushing and 59 through the air.
      The Spartans finally got on the board at 8:43 of the third period when Thomas hit paydirt from 56 yards out, cutting the deficit to 33-7 and stopping the continuous clock, albeit temporarily after the Essad placement.
      When McElroy added his one-yard gallop and Dylan Peplowski the extra point at 5:13, Ursuline opened a 40-7 with 12 minutes remaining.
      Boardman’s Fernando Ortiz then closed the scoring when he crossed the goal line on a 42-yard scamper with 2:30 left.
      Thomas paced the Spartans with a game-high 107 yards on 17 carries, connecting on five of 13 aerial attempts for 77 yards but suffered two misfires, one going for the game’s first tally.
      “Terence is learning the quarterback position. He was thrown into it in June when we lost our quarterback,” stated Ignazio. “He’s athletic as heck, it’s just his knowledge of the position isn’t up to par for Friday night yet.
      “He’s got to make better decisions and that’s part of the maturation process but it’s not coming as fast as we need it to so we’ve got to keep plugging away, get in the film room and got to keep coaching him up.
      “If you’ve got to take away a positive, it‘s that our coaches are coaching their butt off ‘til the end and our kids were still responding. We’ve just got to get things taken care of.”
      Ezpected to see action soon at quarterback is pre-season projected starter Hason Triveri.
      Ortiz added 56 yards on four carries with a touchdown while Sean O’Horo racked up 48 yards on 16 totes for the Spartans offensively.
      The Spartans had 277 yards of total offense, 200 on the ground while Ursuline racked up 445 total yards offensive, 290 rushing and 155 through the air.
      McElroy carried the ball 11 times for 96 yards and a touchdown to pace UHS’s ground attack, Walker had 81 yards on two carries for a score while Hill racked up 51 yards on five totes for two touchdowns.
      Shannon was 12-19 overall for 155 yards and a touchdown to pace the Fighting Irish through the air.
      On Friday, Boardman will travel to Howland to take on the Tigers (2-1) at 7 p.m.
     
 
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