Canton Comes From Behind to Recapture Top Seed
CANTON, PA: It came down to the final minutes and could have gone either way, but the Warriors(9-1;A) prevailed in the 54th “Old Shoe Game” against the neighboring Troy Trojans(6-4;AA). Canton trailed twice in the contest before taking the 21-17 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Troy received the opening kick-off and only mustered six yards on three plays before being forced to punt. But, Tyrell Wheeler muffed the punt, turning the ball back over to Troy at the Canton 14. The Warrior defense held strong, giving up only two more yards to the twelve, where the Trojans settled for a field-goal at 8:13 in the first quarter.
Canton responded quickly with a seven play 59-yard drive, including a 16-yard pass from Reese Holmes to Wheeler and an 18-yard scramble by Justin Brown, before Bill Sourbeer ran it in from 15 yards out. The PAT gave Canton a 7 – 3 lead at 4:59 in the first.
Troy once again got good field position on the ensuing kick-off return as Brandon Spiak took it to the Canton 45 yard-line. Two plays later though, Logan Weed’s pass was picked-off by Wheeler. The Warriors, however, were unable to capitalize on the turn-over, punting the ball back to the Trojans from mid-field.
On the first play after the punt Chance Wright found an opening around the left end and raced 81 yards to the endzone and a 10 – 7 lead for Troy.
The two rivals battled back and forth for two more series before Canton caughed-up the ball to Troy’s Tyler Currie at the Warrior 49. It took Troy six plays before Vance Spencer found Beau Parker for a 25-yard passing touchdown, making the score 17 – 7.
Canton battled back hard in an attempt to narrow the score before half-time. With a balanced attack which included two screen passes to Wheeler (6 & 17 yds.) and tough rushing by Sourbeer (11 & 16 yds.), the Warroirs came up just short of the goal as a Holmes pass was intercepted by Bobby Fitzwater at the three yard-line.
On Canton’s second possession of the second half, the drive seemed to be stalling at the Trojan 38 when, on fourth-an- four, a roughing the punter penalty gave them the first down and kept the drive alive. On first-and-20, after a holding penalty, a dump screen to Brown went 32 yards to the two. Wheeler punched it in from there. The PAT was blocked leaving the score 17 – 13 in favor of Troy.
It looked as if momentum was going the Warriors’ way when an interception got them the ball back at mid-field, but two plays later Wheeler would turn it back over on a fumble at the Trojan 35. This set up a drive down to the two yard-line where Troy went for the TD on fourth-down, but Canton’s defense came up with the crucial stop for a loss of two with time running low.
The Warriors had 96 yards to cover with less than six minutes remaining. They ground it out with their running game to get to mid-field before Holmes found Korey Peterson on a 34-yard reception to the Trojan 17. Two plays later he connected again with Sourbeer for the 15-yard go-ahead score. A two-point conversion by Brown put it out of reach at 21 – 17 with 2:10 remaining in the game. Just to make sure of things, Wheeler intercepted another pass to stymie anymore chance for Troy to recover.
The loss looks to keep Troy(6-4) as the eighth seed in the District IV AA playoffs, setting up a match at first placed Mount Carmel(10-0). The Trojans compiled 198 yards rushing with one TD, and 1/3 passing for 25 yards and a TD with two INTs.
Canton’s win gives them the top-seed and home field advantage for the District IV A playoffs. They will host Line Mountain next Saturday. Utilizing a balanced attack they rushed for 116 yards and two TDs and went 13/20 passing for 198 yards and a TD with one INT.
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