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  Boardman Piles-Up 555 Yards Of Total Offense, Rolls By Howland, 54-19  
  Boardman (2-2) Faces Cardinal Mooney (1-3):   September 24, 2020 Edition  
     BY GREG GULAS
      Boardman News Sports
      bnews@zoominternet.net
      Heading into last Friday’s game with the Howland Tigers, the Boardman Spartans had scored just 43 points in their first three outings for a rather inauspicious 1-2 start to their season.
      It took them just 34 minutes and 15 seconds to match and ultimately surpass that disappointing three-game scoring drought.
      Terence Thomas rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns, passed for 145 yards and three more scores, accounting for 345 of his team’s 555 total yards to lead the Spartans to a 54-19 rout of the Tigers at Lombardo Field.
      With the win, Boardman (2-2) climbed back to the .500 mark, avenging last year’s 27-24 setback to the Tigers at home as they moved to 1-1 on the road.
      They’ve now won three of the last four outings between the two schools and improved to 12-3-1 in 16 games played against their Trumbull County foes.
      The Tigers (1-3) lost for the second consecutive week and dropped to 1-2 at home.
      Thomas carried the ball just 11 times for an average of 18.2 yards per tote, picking up 12-plus yards on five occasions with touchdown runs of 3, 61 and 60 yards included on his impressive gameday resume.
      Sean O’Horo also rushed for 107 yards – he carried the ball 11 carries for an average of 9.7 per carry – and a touchdown while Fernando Ortiz, who is just a sophomore, added 54 yards on three carries – an average of 18.0 per rush – and a score, hitting paydirt on a 56-yard run.
      “We practiced hard this week, we practice hard every week and we just came out ready to capitalize,” said Thomas, who sparked the Spartans to a 14-0 advantage after just 12 minutes of action. “We were disappointed with a 1-2 start and while it feels nice to be back at .500, we’ve got to keep improving and continue to get better each week.”
      Thomas’ 28-yard scoring strike to Anthony Hightower at 9:26 of the opening frame staked BHS to the early 7-0 advantage, capping a seven-play, 73-yard drive on their first possession of the game.
      It was a lead they would not relinquish the remainder of the way.
      “We had a very good week of practice and today it paid off on the field,” Hightower added. “Those Monday through Thursday practices and the hard work we put in showed on Friday.
      “Terence is my guy. We hope to continue doing big things.”
      After forcing a punt on the Tigers’ first possession of the game, Thomas’ 3-yard run at 5:29 of the period capped a seven-play, 54-yard drive the second time they had the ball for a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play.
      Tigers’ signal-caller David Burman found Luca Massucci with a 14-yard pass at 10:20 of the second period and when Ashleigh Macias added the placement, Howland cut the Boardman lead in half at 14-7.
      It didn’t take long for BHS to answer as Thomas’ 61-yard scamper down the left side of the field, outrunning the Tigers’ defense the last 35 yards resulted in a 21-7 lead for the Spartans just 50 seconds later.
      Howland’s Eric Babinchak, who registered 183-yards on 28 carries, scored on an eight yard pass from Burman at 6:12 of the session and after the kick failed, the Tigers cut the lead to 21-13.
      As if on cue from their three previous scores, the Spartans added three more scores before the half as they built a 40-13 lead at the intermission.
      Hightower added his second touchdown of the game on a 22-yard pass from Thomas at the 5:35 mark, Thomas scored on his second long run of the game, this time from 60-yards away at 2:39 and after Thomas found Cam Thompson from 66-yards out with 56 seconds remaining, the Spartans built a 27-point lead at the half.
      “Terence and I have worked together a lot during the off-season and during practice so our timing is there,” stated Thompson, who had two catches in the game for 83 yards and a score. “Today, it really paid off.
      “The key tonight was dependability. We depend on one another, even the scout team that helps prepare us each week. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing as we move forward and we’ll be alright. ”
      Babinchak’s second touchdown of the game, a four-yard run at 4:57 of the third quarter cut into the Spartans’ lead to 40-19 but O’Horo’s 28-yard gallop at 1:45 stretched the lead back to four scores and a 47-19 margin heading to the final stanza.
      “We came together tonight and grew up as a team,” O’Horo noted. “Our offensive line has come together the last couple weeks and it seems like every week they get better and better.
      “They push off the ball to get me and all of our backs a nice hole to run through and also provide protection for Terence when he runs or drops back in the pocket.”
      Ortiz’s 56-yard scamper with 10:17 remaining then made it a 54-19 game and a running clock the remainder of the way.
      “We’re demanding of our kids to continue to show up and get better and they finally responded and put together what we thought they were capable of tonight,” Spartans head coach Joe Ignazio said. “I’m extremely proud of my staff. Some teams I’ve seen coached would give up in situations like what we’re dealing with but our guys show up every day, coach their butts off and don’t give up until the last whistle. Our kids see that.
      “We’ve had conversations about it and our word this week was dependable. We told every kid hat we have to depend on each other and now it’s time to go.”
      Ignazio called out Thomas for his offensive exploits.
      “He’s a tremendous athlete and obviously a kid who we want to have the ball in his hands,” Ignazio added. “He’s struggled at times learning the quarterback position but the kid is an unbelievably tremendous kid. He is mature, does everything we ask and while he gets frustrated at times, he never gets down, always has a positive attitude and I’m so happy for him.”
      In addition to the Spartan’s offensive execution, Ignazio also lauded his defense for their play hard-nosed play.
      “We played physical. You know, they’re big up front and that was something we worried about early on this week when we saw them on film,” he stated. “I thought we matched their physicality. At one point they ran 44 offensive plays to our 24, which speaks to our scoring quick and them having to sustain long drives.
      “We’re still not where we need to be there, we did some things differently but we’ll get back at it, shore some things up against the run, continue to compete and continue to get better.”
      Hightower finished the game with three catches for 62 yards and two scores while Marcel Tomlin added 50-yards on seven carries during his fourth quarter action.
      Burman was 11 of 29 through the air for 97 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers as they racked up 314 total yards, all but 97 coming on the ground.
      The Spartans held a 21-18 first-down advantage.
      Boardman will now host the Cardinal Mooney Cardinals (1-30 on Friday at Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
 
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