YOUNGSTOWN Chaney nips Canfield, 22-21, thanks to Balog's versatility
A missed extra point in overtime accounted for the difference.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Dan Balog's versatility paid off for the Chaney High football team Friday night against previously-undefeated Canfield.
Balog caught a clutch pass that set the stage for his game-tying touchdown in overtime. Then he added the winning extra-point kick to lift Chaney to a 22-21 victory over Canfield at Stambaugh Stadium.
"Balog is a complete football player. He does it all. He's a linebacker, fullback, catches balls and kicks. He's an invaluable player," said Chaney (2-2) coach Ron Berdis of the senior running back, linebacker and placekicker.
Canfield (3-1), which battled back from a 15-0 deficit to tie it at 15-15, took a 21-15 lead in overtime on quarterback Jamie McNally's 14-yard scoring pass to Jordan Ferns, but Adam Jones missed the extra-point kick.
Hlinka, Balog deliver
Chaney then took its crack, and quarterback Rick Hlinka hit Balog with a 17-yard pass to the 3-yard line.
Lamar Sykes added two more yards before Balog powered through from the 1-yard line to tie it at 21-21. Balog, a left-footed kicker, thumped through the winning point.
Balog also kicked a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, and finished with 51 yards rushing in nine carries.
Hlinka, a senior quarterback, also was tough in the clutch to help preserve the Chaney win.
"This is his first year as a starter. He's steadily gotten better," said Berdis of Hlinka, who was 7-for-14 passing for 140 yards. "He missed some throws but he made some clutch throws at key times. He gives us an extra dimension to our running game."
Kory Jackson caught four passes from Hlinka for 98 yards, including a 25-yard TD strike, while Sykes, a senior running back, rushed for 108 in 30 carries.
Chaney had 164 net yards rushing in 45 plays and 13 total first downs.
Canfield had bad start
Turnovers plagued Canfield early in the game. In fact, the Cardinals fumbled the ball away the first two times they had possession at their 34 and 26, to set up Sykes' TD and then Balog's field goal that plunged Canfield into a 13-0 hole.
Then Jackson scored his TD in the second quarter to cap a 65-yard, nine-play drive to make it 15-0.
"We came back from a 15-0 deficit and we stopped them three times after that," Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky said. "Turnovers hurt us. We started with two fumbles on the first plays and before you know it is 9-0."
Canfield regrouped behind McNally and Ferns. The pair hooked up on a 20-yard TD pass in the second quarter to climax a 54-yard, six-play drive, and Jones' placement cut the gap to 15-7 at halftime.
Canfield ties it
In the third quarter, Canfield launched a 52-yard, six-play drive capped by Joe Rosko's 1-yard run and McNally's conversion pass to Kyle Banna to tie it at 15-15.
The Cardinals then turned back three Chaney advances to the Canfield 35 and 37 twice to send the game into overtime.
Pavlansky said his team rallied because, "We didn't turn [the ball] over," and also because of McNally's running and passing. "Jamie got great protection and we got some receivers free."
McNally was 8-for-24 passing for 146 yards and rushed for 84 yards in 16 carries, while Ferns caught five passes for 113 yards, Canfield rushed for 106 net yards in 25 carries and had 12 total first downs.
"In the second half, Jamie was running the ball well because the line was blocking well. He is a fine quarterback." said Pavlansky.
Red Saunders dedication
Chaney dedicated the game to Red Saunders, a long-time Chaney coach and scout who died last spring.
"For five decades, he was involved in Chaney football," said Berdis of Saunders, who coached under Berdis for 17 years, and before that was with coaches Ed Matey and Red Angelo.
Red was the brother of former WFMJ sportscaster Pat Saunders, who died last year.