Unfortunately, the Bulldogs' opener on the brand new turf was quite subpar.
When Stow opened up shop in their season and home opener against the Hoover Vikings, the offense (and defense, for that matter) fizzled out. The final score of the blowout was 52-14. Both teams unveiled their new quarterbacks, and Hoover's Dom Lero got the better end of the deal. He finished with a touchdown pass, while gaining another on the ground, after taking over Hoover's offense with 222 yards through the air. Brian Groves, the Bulldogs starter, had a rough night; two interceptions with no touchdowns and a mere 57 yards.
Matt Beech from Stow had an impressive night starting at tailback, tallying two touchdown runs. Otherwise, that was about it for the Bulldogs. Tyler DeVitis, the Bulldogs leading receiver from last week, gained 27 yards with a long of 11. Compare that to the leading receiver for Hoover, Austin Feinberg, who did more with the ball on just five catches (99 yards), the situation looked bleak.
All in all, the Bulldogs lost a game that got away quickly.
Tonight, they try to catch back up versus Kent. Hopefully, Bulldogs fans will pack the house tonight, but will have to share the stadium with some enthusiastic Roughriders fans.
Here's the quick preview:
The rival Roughriders slaughtered the Bulldogs last year on their way
to reaching the 2011 playoff tournament, 55-28. What happened that
night? The Bulldogs and graduate Chris Choler turned the ball over
far too many times, including a game-high four interceptions.
Honestly, the game was a mess, and certainly one the Bulldogs should
use as inspiration to take down the Roughriders on their own home
turf. Tra'von Chapman will be returning as Kent's quarterback this
year, and he is definitely a double-threat to try to manage. The 6'1, 200-pounder led the team to the second round of the playoffs last season and threw for 117 yards against Stow last year, not to mention the 155 yards he gained on
the ground. Finally, the Roughrider defense lived up to their name as
they accumulated an exceptional 83 tackles on the night.
Key to victory: There's really two important things to keep this game close:
First and foremost, don't turn over the ball on offense. Chapman and
his squad took advantage of it last year, including a halftime hail
mary that was returned for a touchdown.
Secondly, try to slow down the high-octane offense Chapman will run. Senior Trei Thomas may be something to watch out for, as his 114 receiving yards versus Stow in 2011 led the team.