June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Colts stay perfect

COPLEY — Cloverleaf’s football team rolled into Copley and executed its game plan to perfection Friday in stopping the Indians 25-7 in Suburban League play.

“Execution” 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 — 7-of-9 in the first half — and were 2-of-2 on fourth-down tries.

“That was probably our most perfect half of the season,” Colts coach Kevin Gault said of the first. “The past four games our execution has not been as sharp as we’ve committed stupid penalties and turned the ball over.”

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.

“Cloverleaf executed on key third downs and we didn’t,” Copley coach Ron Viscounte said. “We made adjustments in the second half and emphasized the importance of playing their positions and taking care of their responsibility, which didn’t happen in the first half.”

The Colts’ 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.

“Our line was great tonight,” Hansen said. “They 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.”

Of course, offense is only half of the game and Cloverleaf’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.

“We played solid team defense tonight,” Weese said. “The coaches kept a lot of fresh people up front and they just pressured Copley’s quarterback all over the place. He never had time to set and look for open receivers.”

The substitution was a key part of the Colts’ game plan as they rotated over 20 players to keep fresh legs in the game.

“Rotating kids was key tonight,” Gault said. “Copley 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 aren’t tired, you can execute on both sides of the ball better. And that is what happened tonight.” 

NEXT UP: Cloverleaf (5-0, 2-0) entertains Tallmadge, while Copley (2-3, 1-1) is at Revere.

Hoffman may be reached at sports@ohio.net.