COPLEY â€” Cloverleafâ€™s football team rolled into Copley and executed its game plan to perfection Friday in stopping the Indians 25-7 in Suburban League play.
â€œExecutionâ€ was the key as Cloverleaf (5-0, 2-0) played near perfect football. The Colts were only charged two penalties, turned over the rock just once (on an interception) and converted 11-of-17 third downs â€” 7-of-9 in the first half â€” and were 2-of-2 on fourth-down tries.
â€œThat was probably our most perfect half of the season,â€ Colts coach Kevin Gault said of the first. â€œThe past four games our execution has not been as sharp as weâ€™ve committed stupid penalties and turned the ball over.â€
Not so on this night.
Copley (1-4, 1-1) played the part of spectator in the first half as Cloverleaf moved up and down the field with scoring drives of 67 yards (17 plays), 82 yards (12 plays) and 48 yards (8 plays).
The scoring belonged to Chris Matejka (25-yard field goal), Keegan Conry on a 10-yard pass from Cody Roberts, and an 11-yard run from Roberts.
In the first two quarters, Cloverleaf used 40 plays to gain 195 yards and 14 first downs, while the Indians had only 16 plays and four first downs.
â€œCloverleaf executed on key third downs and we didnâ€™t,â€ Copley coach Ron Viscounte said. â€œWe made adjustments in the second half and emphasized the importance of playing their positions and taking care of their responsibility, which didnâ€™t happen in the first half.â€
The Coltsâ€™ only second-half score came on a 42-yard TD run by Devin Hansen (6 carries, 61 yards). It was a big night for all the Cloverleaf backs as Roberts (22, 85), Kyle Juszczyk (13, 81), Adam Cepik (11, 44) and Conry (6, 29) took turns shredding the defense.
â€œOur line was great tonight,â€ Hansen said. â€œThey were really opening up the holes and Cody was confusing the defense with his ballhandling. Everybody was blocking. On my run, Cepik and Kalvin Harrington threw the key blocks.â€
Of course, offense is only half of the game and Cloverleafâ€™s defense did its job just as well. They not only held the speedy Indians to 221 yards, but picked off three Dom McClain passes.
Two of the picks were by Andrew Weese, his third and fourth of the year, while Hansen had the other theft.
â€œWe played solid team defense tonight,â€ Weese said. â€œThe coaches kept a lot of fresh people up front and they just pressured Copleyâ€™s quarterback all over the place. He never had time to set and look for open receivers.â€
The substitution was a key part of the Coltsâ€™ game plan as they rotated over 20 players to keep fresh legs in the game.
â€œRotating kids was key tonight,â€ Gault said. â€œCopley is faster and quicker than us and we wanted to be able to stay with them. We had to have fresh legs out there to do that. And also when you arenâ€™t tired, you can execute on both sides of the ball better. And that is what happened tonight.â€Â
NEXT UP: Cloverleaf (5-0, 2-0) entertains Tallmadge, while Copley (2-3, 1-1) is at Revere.
Hoffman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.