C-M gets everyone into act
By Mike Kovak, Staff writer
CANONSBURG - When it comes to Canon-McMillan football, everyone knows about junior Mike Hull, the bruising, punishing middle linebacker and fullback who's quicker than a hiccup in open space.
And most have heard about junior Chad Hagan, a gifted package of size, speed and strength. Hagan started as a freshman but opted to concentrate on basketball as a sophomore. Now, he's back playing football and his presence immediately raised already great expectations for the Big Macs.
Hull and Hagan sure are good. Just ask Trinity after the pair helped Canon-McMillan open the 2008 season with a convincing 32-7 non-conference victory.
The Hillers could also tell you, the Big Macs are a lot more than Hull and Hagan. For those not in the know, remember the names Jon Pozonsky and Alex Pihakis.
"Jon Pozonsky is a heckuva football player. Last year, in the first part of our season, we lost Brad Strimel and Jon Pozonsky, and I think people will realize how significant that was for us," Canon-McMillan coach Guy Montecalvo said. "Alex Pihakis is the first four-year starter I've ever had, and that's saying something."
Pozonsky and Pihakis were all over the place as Canon-McMillan (1-0) defeated Trinity (0-1) by double-digit points for the second straight year.
At 6-0, 205, Pozonsky is a powerful runner and head-hunting defender. On the Big Macs' opening drive, he had runs of 10 and 12 yards which led a 1-yard scoring run by Hull for a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the season.
Pozonsky showed why he's receiving Division I interest from Duke and Army despite not playing much after the Big Macs' third game last year. He caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Steve Roach just before halftime to extend Canon-McMillan's lead to 19-0 and, midway through the third quarter, Pozonsky stepped in front of an Andrew Steratore pass and returned it 82 yards for a 25-0 lead.
"Our defense has sort of been a private issue because everyone talks about our offense but (defense) is something we're concentrating on this year," Pozonsky said. "Our defensive line did a great job getting a push and it made that an easy interception."
While Pozonsky was racing to the end zone, guys like Pihakis and Butchie Cumpston made life miserable for Trinity's offense, which features nine new starters.
The pair of undersized defensive lineman spent most of the evening in the Hillers' backfield. Thanks to their manic efforts, Trinity managed nine first downs and 146 total yards.
"We didn't move the ball. We just weren't very good," Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. "We played not too bad defensively. I didn't see any of those 80-yard runs they've been getting but that's a very, very good football team with a chance to win the (Great Southern)."
Trinity help Hull to a game-high 92 rushing yards on 16 carries, 23 coming on a key fourth-and-5 at the 50 late in the second half. Pozonsky caught his touchdown pass two plays later.
Hagan, meanwhile, rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He also blocked a second-quarter punt which Nico Carrozza recovered in the end zone for a 13-0 lead.
"This is a big win for our kids," Montecalvo said. "They love to play Trinity. ... It's significant because, first of all, they are a very, very fine football tea defensively and they'll come along offensively."
Bits and pieces
Canon-McMillan's Roach and Trinity's Steratore made their first starts at quarterback. Roach completed 3 of 5 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Steratore completed 1 of 7 attempts for 30 yards and an interception. ... Canon-McMillan sacked Steratore three times. ... The Big Macs ran only two offensive plays during the third quarter but Trinity did not score until Alex Frey went 19 yards on a reverse with 4:55 remaining.
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