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'Still hope': Canton Central Catholic football's Jack Talkington delivers in the clutch

The Repository by Mike Popovich

PERRY TWP. — Jack Talkington saw it coming Friday night at Norwayne.

After Central Catholic scored a touchdown with 32 seconds left, the Crusaders senior quarterback took a look at his sideline. He saw head coach Jeff Lindesmith affirm the inevitable.

The trust Lindesmith had in him spoke volumes.

Talkington delivered the winning two-point conversion run in Central's 36-35 victory over Norwayne. Moments earlier, he engineered a two-minute drive that put the Crusaders in position to pull out the win and improve to 1-1.

"We've been battling this team for four quarters, and I always knew he wanted to go for the win," Talkington said. "I knew he wanted to do it right then and there. I looked at him and put up two fingers. He said, 'Yeah.' I was like, 'OK.'"

Lindesmith had no doubt what he was going to do.

"That was the easy part," Lindsemith said. "Getting down there to score was the hard part."

At 6 feet, 2 inches and 220 pounds, Talkington isn't the easiest player to take down. He is Central's leading rusher. Against Norwayne, he gained a game-high 163 yards on the ground.

Three more yards was no sweat. Talkington was still on his feet after he crossed the goal line.

"We practice that play maybe four times a day when he do goal line," Talkington said. "We practice that play all the time.

"Yeah, I knew (Lindesmith) was going to do it."

Talkington calmly drove the Crusaders downfield after Norwayne took a 35-28 lead with 1:51 left. He had a couple of big runs. Receiver Jimmy Kane had some key catches. Dan Boron finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

"When they scored, I looked at the clock and said, 'We have time,'" Talkington said. "I went down the entire sideline and told the younger guys, 'We can do this.'

"We knew there was still hope."

Talkington is mostly being recruited by colleges as a linebacker. He brings toughness and aggression to the position for Central.

The way Talkington led the game-changing drive at Norwayne is an indication that he could play on offense in college. He said Walsh University has talked with him about it.

In four seasons as a quarterback, Talkington has thrown 14 touchdown passes and is 61 passing yards shy of 3,000. He also has rushed for 1,624 yards and 17 touchdowns.

"I think I gave grown more as a leader," Talkington said. "I've had to adapt to that role. I've always been told I have to be that guy.

"It was hard in the first place, trying to be that leader, but I've grown into it. I think that's the biggest thing I've noticed."

Lindesmith puts Talkington in the top tier of players he has coached.

"He's right up there," Lindesmith said. "He does everything well offensively and defensively.

"He's an athlete. You think back in recent years, guys like Vince Gliatta. He goes to Penn State, and they make him a defensive back. He was a great quarterback.

"Those kind of kids are a rarity, but it's nice to coach those guys."

Reach Mike at mike.popovich@

On Twitter: @mpopovichREP

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