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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
The Tallmadge football team won two games all of last season.
It took the Blue Devils just three weeks to match last year's win total in 2016.
Host Tallmadge improved to 2-1 on the season after earning a convincing 42-21 victory over Akron Garfield.
The game took place Sept. 9 at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.
The Golden Rams struck first, but the Blue Devils scored 35 unanswered points to take complete control.
Tallmadge outgained Garfield 303-270 and both teams had 18 first downs.
Both squads also had difficulties with penalties.
The Blue Devils were whistled for 11 flags for 115 yards and the Golden Rams had eight penalties for 60 yards.
"We didn't start out the game as well as we liked," Tallmadge head coach Alan Vanderink said. "They [the Golden Rams] scored on their first possession.
"The kids did a nice job of staying the course and sticking to the game plan."
Running back Ty Shannon did it all for the Blue Devils.
He led Tallmadge with 130 yards on 24 carries. He had touchdown runs of 1 and 24 yards, respectively.
Shannon also caught a 28-yard TD pass from quarterback Sam Seeker, who completed 6-of-9 passes for 86 yards.
Shannon added a 78-yard interception return for a score .
He also was the Blue Devils' leading receiver with four receptions for 73 yards.
"Ty had a very good game, no doubt about it," Vanderink said.
Richie Eyre added a 7-yard TD run as Tallmadge finished with 217 rushing yards.
"Richie doesn't get noticed because he doesn't get a lot of carries," Vanderink said. "He plays very hard and he blocks very hard."
Dan Hepler had a 23-yard punt return for a touchdown for the Blue Devils.
Eyre added two sacks and Mike Yamokoski had a team-leading 10 tackles, including two for a loss, for the Blue Devils.
"Mike Yamokoski had led us in tackles every week," Vanderink said. "He's just very solid."
Hunter Sally contributed 9.5 tackles for Tallmadge.
"I thought our defensive tackles, Scott Seeker and Conner Franks, played very well," Vanderink said.
Garfield quarterback Greg Levy completed 8-of-22 passes for 164 yards and two TDs. His favorite receiver was Tim Strickling Jr., who caught five passes for 75 yards and a score.
Levy also connected with Anthony Littlejohn on a 70-yard TD pass.
Garfield actually got inside the Blue Devils' 5-yard line late in the game.
"Our biggest problem is we're not finishing games very well," Vanderink said. "In the last three weeks, the opponent has outplayed us. The Garfield kids kept playing. Our kids didn't keep playing."
Tallmadge was scheduled to visit New Philadelphia Sept. 16. Results were not available at press time.
The Blue Devils are set to make their Suburban League American Conference debut at Kent Roosevelt Sept. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"We're taking baby steps each week," Vanderink said. "It's a process. I'm pleased with the character of the kids. They're buying in. They have a desire to be better each and every day. We're trying to teach them to do that on a consistent basis."