Broc Lowry surge lifts Canfield football past AuroraJonah Rosenblum, Record-Courier
November 5, 2022, 12:39 am
Armen Perez and Dylan Crasi work to bring down Canfield quarterback Broc Lowry.
CANFIELD — The Greenmen hung around despite a couple of crippling injuries in the first several plays of Friday's Region 9 second-round contest.
Broc Lowry's surge late in the first half proved too much to withstand, as the Indiana commit lifted No. 2 Canfield to a 42-14 victory over No. 10 Aurora.
They're a good football team, well-coached, the kids have a lot of pride," Cardinals coach Mike Pavlansky said. "They're tough. We played probably our best game of the year and we needed to for that score to happen."
After Aurora (8-4) battled its way down the field to draw within a score with 2:12 remaining in the opening half, Lowry, a senior dual-threat quarterback, needed a single play to put Canfield (10-1) back in front by multiple possessions.
With the Cardinals leading 14-7, Lowry tore around the left side and sped down the sideline, successfully holding off two defenders in heavy pursuit for an 80-yard touchdown run.
Broc Lowry scores on an 80 yard keeper for the Cardinals.
The Greenmen responded by driving to midfield, but Lowry, whose commitment to the Hoosiers is actually on the defensive side of the football, jumped a route on third-and-five for the interception to give the Cardinals the ball back with 1:02 left.
That was plenty of time for Lowry, as he fired a bullet to Gavin Ramun over the middle for 13 yards, then threw Ramun open by leading him behind his defender down the right hash for a gain of 21 to the Aurora 21. After a spike, Lowry rolled and fired a jump screen pass to speedy junior Danny Inglis, who wound through the middle of the field, from left to right, for a 21-yard score and a 28-7 lead at the half.
"[Lowry] took over," Greenmen coach Bob Mihalik said. "The two touchdowns they got in the last two minutes and that was all she wrote. I thought that was the big turning point in the game, when we thought we were fighting and clawing to stay in it there down one score with two minutes left in the half."
Cade Fromwiller walks to the Aurora sideline as Canfield celebrates an interception.
That was Lowry's lone passing touchdown of the night as the Canfield senior did most of his damage on the ground, turning 10 carries into 169 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cardinals also did well to limit the Greenmen's ground game, holding them to 122 yards on 24 carries, as their line wreaked havoc on inside runs and passes.
"Just proud of our guys, our defense played so well, to hold that offense to seven points," Pavlansky said, noting that Aurora's second touchdown came against Canfield's reserves. "Our defensive line has played well all year long. We need them to continue to play well next week, but, coming in, we knew both teams wanted to run the football and the team that can control the line of scrimmage had a great chance of winning, and fortunately we were able to do that."
Aurora battled back with senior quarterback Matt Geier faking a handoff on third-and-six, then veering right for an instant before tearing to the left sideline for a gain of 39 to the Canfield 27. But the Greenmen's promising opening drive was set back by a sideline infraction, followed by a sack on third-and-10.
The Cardinals capitalized on just four plays, sparked by a 53-yard sweep around the left end by junior Scottie Eaton, followed by a 14-yard blast inside the left tackle by Lowry and a one-yard touchdown plunge by Inglis.
Again, Aurora battled back, as Geier found Cade Fromwiller on a pretty hook for 14 yards to convert a third-and-10.
Those were scary moments for the visiting Greenmen, as the Cardinals threatened to run away, including an 11-play, 97-yard drive midway through the second stanza to take a two-score lead, highlighted by Lowry escaping the blitz for a 25-yard run on fourth-and-eight.
Up 14-0, Cardinals junior Anthony Mazzella ended a promising Aurora drive into Canfield territory with an interception, but a play later, Aurora senior Sam Retton had perfect coverage on a Lowry deep ball for a responding pick.
Then, it was Brandon Liepins' turn to step up. On third-and-five from the Cardinals' 45, Liepins found Fromwiller (5 catches, 45 yards) whirling around in the slot for a first down. Then, on third-and-seven from the 32, Retton took a jet sweep for a gain of six, and on fourth-and-one, Liepins lofted a pass to junior Jayce Unverferth for a 26-yard score.
"Anytime a team on film went into a tight power-I type thing, they were selling out and they had one guy to cover two," Mihalik said. "It happened exactly how we thought it would happen. Does it take guts to call it? I guess, but we needed something to spark us and it did."
Somehow, despite giving up a fourth-and-eight conversion, despite their first two drives into Cardinals' territory netting zero points, the Greenmen were within a score.
And then Lowry took over.
Aurora senior Alex Tenorio reaches 1,000-yard mark
While the Cardinals controlled the rest of the game, there were a few more highlights for the Greenmen.
On Canfield's first possession of the second half, Aurora senior Quinn Gorman and Unverferth brilliantly flattened a third-and-short counter to force a punt. Following the punt, senior running back Alex Tenorio (13 carries, 42 yards) became the first Aurora runner to top 1,000 yards since Chris Vanzo in 2016.
"To see him go over that 1,000-yard mark is special, especially when he came back from all those injuries," Mihalik said. "He's just a quiet, humble kid who just works his butt off. When he scores a touchdown, he hands the ball to the official, doesn't celebrate, gives credit to his offensive linemen, so real happy for the success he had this year."
Soon after, Greenmen junior Dom Trivisonno, punting from the end zone in Geier's place, corralled a high snap and sent a booming punt to the Cardinals' 45. Trivisonno added another 40-plus yard punt before the night was through.
"Dom stepped in the last couple weeks when Matt was out," Mihalik said. "Matt got hurt again tonight in the first quarter, so Dom had to go in without much practice this week, but he's been a great safety for us all year, also a great place-kicker as well, and he'll be one of our leaders next year coming back."
And in the final minutes, Aurora scored one last time, as Tenorio turned second-and-10 into a first down with back-to-back runs that totaled 14 yards. Having established Tenorio, the Greenmen faked yet another counter handoff to the senior back, with Liepins racing around the right side for a 14-yard gain to the Cardinals' one-yard line. On the next play, senior Zach Nemet spun off a hit around the right end for the score.
Minutes later, the Greenmen gathered, tearfully embracing after a season that saw a team with just two returning starters win eight games and advance to the second round of the Region 9 postseason.
"It's a good senior class," Mihalik said. "They felt they had a lot to prove. They heard it all spring and summer that no way were we going to be any good with only two starters returning, and I think they've proved they're a talented group, to come in second in a great conference like the Suburban League American and to make it to the second round of the playoffs, I think that's a credit to that senior group that stuck together and kept working hard."