By HO HOFFMAN
Special to The Gazette
WESTFIELD TWP. â€” Who called the play?
That was the question Friday night when Cloverleaf converted a 52-yard fake field goal in the fourth quarter into a 36-yard touchdown pass to beat visiting Green 14-13 in the Suburban League opener for both teams.
â€œKyle Juszczyk made the call,â€ Colts coach Kevin Gault said. â€œHe is the holder on the play and has the option to fake the kick if he thinks we have the opportunity for a big play. He is extremely intelligent and understands the game just like he was another coach.â€
Trailing 13-7 at the time, Cloverleaf (4-0, 1-0) set up for what would be a 47-yard field goal attempt, but a 5-yard procedure penalty moved the ball back for what would have been a 52-yard try by Chris Matejka.
Juszczyk took the snap from center and started left, then reversed back to the right. He had two receivers wide open, one on the left and the other on the right. He chose Andrew Weese on the right side and the senior ran untouched from the 20-yard line into the end zone.
â€œIf we had not received the penalty, I would have let Chris go ahead and kick it,â€ Juszczyk said. â€œAndrew was wide open on the play and I was just worried I would throw it too long or too short. I just tried to guide the ball in.â€
The only person who wasnâ€™t surprised by the play was Green coach Tom Stacy.
â€œHeck, yes, I knew it was going to be a fake,â€ Stacy said. â€œI think everyone did, but we just blew the coverage on the play.â€
After that it was up to the Cloverleaf defense to shut down Green (1-3, 0-1), and the Colts did it in grand style. Green managed just 17 yards in seven plays and was forced to punt the ball away. The Bulldogs never got it back.
Defensive end Kyle Sirl came up huge a number of times. In the first quarter, his pressure forced Greenâ€™s Tyler Chaboudy into an 11-yard punt, which led to Cloverleafâ€™s first score, a 2-yard run by Adam Cepik. Sirl also stopped a first-quarter drive by sacking Jesse Mason for a 10-yard loss.
For good measure, he tackled Greenâ€™s Jason James (22 carries, 130 yards) in the backfield on the Bulldogsâ€™ final possession of the game.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t just me, it was the whole team that was coming up with big stops tonight,â€ Sirl said. â€œWe are concentrating on playing good team defense this year and it is really showing.â€
Greenâ€™s touchdowns came on a pair of 1-yard sneaks by Mason, the last in the fourth quarter with 9:40 remaining, but the snap on the extra point was fumbled and the kick never got off the ground.
Offensively, Cloverleaf relied on the two-headed quarterback duo of Juszczyk (60 yards passing, 62 yards rushing, 60 yards receiving) and Cody Roberts (17 yards rushing, 87 yards passing, 12 yards receiving) to supply most of the offense.
â€˜I think it works well with Cody and I sharing the quarterback spot,â€ Juszczyk said. â€œIt gives the defense different formations to worry about and we can catch them by surprise.â€
Like on a fake field goal.
UP NEXT: Cloverleaf (4-0, 1-0) travels to Copley. Green (1-3, 0-1) travels to Wadsworth.
Hoffman may be reached at email@example.com.