CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Canfield and Poland have been in the same league since 1973, but that rivalry may come to an end very soon.
Poland has left the All American Conference, with just two scheduled games remaining between the two, over the next two years.
“The goal is today matters, every day matters,” said Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky. “If you give too many days with our schedule you’re not going to give yourself the best chance to win a ballgame. We’ve got to be able to finish and last year there was a couple games we didn’t finish in. If we had, we would have found ourselves in Week 11 like we did two years ago.”
Beating Louisville is priority number one for the Canfield this off-season. The Cardinals finished 7-3 last year, but a close loss to Louisville in week one at home, proved to be the difference.
“Literally four minutes, one play away,” said Paul Breinz, senior running back. “We needed a stop on defense, we needed a first down on offense and we came up short. We got that bad taste in our mouth, you know we’re ready for Louisville, we’re ready to get after it.”
Coach Pavlansky has 50 players out this year, so the numbers are down, but the experience is not. Defense will be the strength this season, with eight returning starters. the offense has plenty of play-makers themselves. Breinz leads the charge in the backfield, with Vinny Fiorenza taking over the QB spot.
“I think more importantly, it’s gotta be our offensive line that has to develop,” said Pavlansky. “If our offensive line doesn’t develop, it doesn’t matter who we have at quarterback.”
The Battle of 224 certainly heats up this year, in what could be the final game between Canfield and Poland…at least for the time-being.
“That’s disappointing that we’re going to break away from that,” said Pavlansky. “Hopefully the conference, their new conference will allow us to play week ten in our traditional rival spot.”
The rivalry has gone Canfield’s way the past two years and these seniors can’t wait for a chance to make it three straight.
“I’ve never lost to Poland in my entire life,” said senior linebacker Angelo Petracci. “So to bring the trophy back it always gives you an opportunity to go into Week 11 with a little bit of confidence.”
“We got out with a bang…beat them three times in a row, we’ll show them why they need to leave, because we’re beating them,” said Breinz.