BY JOSH WEIR
Repository sports writer
CANTON Slow starts in the first and third quarters by his Bulldogs continue to befuddle McKinley High School head football coach Todd Filtz.
Whatever the Bulldogs’ problems are coming out of the locker room, they were trumped Friday night by a flash-and-bash second quarter courtesy of Eric Glover-Williams and the McKinley defensive front seven.
Glover-Williams provided the flash and the defense most definitely provided the bash as McKinley scored all of its points in the second quarter of a 26-17 win against Dublin Coffman.
To be clear, the bashing continued from McKinley’s defense throughout the night to offset an offense that sputtered at times.
“We just wanted to go hard and keep going,” said McKinley senior defensive lineman Tre’Von Richardson. “Keep pushing.”
The Bulldogs (3-0) hit like they were mad at the Shamrocks. Richardson, Nick Faulkner, Maurice Horner and Jacque McClellan led a front that simply overwhelmed the Shamrocks (1-2) at times. Linebackers Jamal Davis, James Smith and Nikolas Ricks filled holes with bad intentions.
“I think us hitting them for four quarters really paid dividends,” Filtz said. “It all comes from those defensive guys playing with energy. When they do, it’s demoralizing.”
The defense rose up at a key juncture, when McKinley’s seemingly strong grip on the game started to slip.
After Coffman’s CJ Saunders returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to cut McKinley’s lead to 26-14, a quick Bulldog possession gave the ball right back to the Shamrocks.
Dre Kendrick, who rushed for 277 yards in a Coffman loss last week, shook loose for his only big run of the night and set up the Shamrocks inside McKinley’s 10.
With Coffman threatening to cut its deficit to one score, the Bulldogs got nasty.
Davis, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound middle backer with a pocketful of Division I scholarship offers, rocked Coffman ball carrier Aaron Pape for a 3-yard loss on second down. Faulkner then dropped QB Gunnar Hoak for a sack, and Coffman had to settle for a 25-yard John McGue field goal.
“It was a huge stand for our defense,” Filtz said. “(Coffman) stole the momentum from the freaking kickoff. I couldn’t believe it. We’ve got to tackle that kickoff and they probably end with seven points. … But it was good. Ultimately, our kids faced a little bit of adversity and when their backs were against the wall, they stepped up and made plays.”
Really, that field goal represented the only points that should go against the McKinley defense, which went nine quarters without allowing a point.
A muffed punt by Glover-Williams inside his own 10 led to a 6-yard TD run by Kendrick on the first play of the second quarter.
Coffman finished with 142 yards on 52 offensive plays. Kendrick ran for 100 yards on 26 carries.
“They’re fast,” Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said of the McKinley defense. “Their defensive line comes off the football and their linebackers fill. They’re active. They’ve got good feet. They can play.”
After missing on his first seven pass attempts, Glover-Williams completed three of his next four, all to Chris Prowell-White.
The first completion, a 22-yarder, seemed to open the floodgates early in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs scored on three straight possessions, with Glover-Williams dazzling on multiple runs.
“When we can do both things, we’re a very effective offense,” Filtz said.
Ricks scored from 6 yards out one play after a 50-yard run by Glover-Williams. Glover-Williams added TD runs of 8 and 6 yards as McKinley went from down 7-0 to up 19-7 in a little more than eight minutes of game clock. The sensational junior and future Ohio State Buckeye rushed for 107 yards in the first half and finished with 162 yards on 29 carries overall.
Fittingly, the Bulldog defense put the punctuation point on the quarter.
Horner read a Coffman screen pass and leaped to intercept it. He quickly made a cut to avoid a tackle and sprinted 46 yards for a TD and a 26-7 Bulldog lead.
Prowell-White finished with four receptions for 108 yards.
Jarrod Smith, whose hard inside running is a nice compliment to Glover-Williams’ showtime style, added 93 yards on 20 carries for McKinley.
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