Warriors top Red Raiders 46-7
CANTON – While most coaches will tell you it’s far more important how you’re playing at the end of the season than the beginning, a team’s performance at the start of the season can also serve to make a statement.
For the second straight week, Canton made a statement as it continued to serve notice that is is going to be tough to beat in District 4 Class A this season, at least if it plays like it did on Saturday.
One week after blowing out Towanda, Canton racked up 451 yards of offense while holding Montgomery to just 196 yards and recording five interceptions, and the game was never that close after a scoreless first quarter as the Warriors topped the Red Raiders 46-7.
The Warriors, who went 9-1 last year in the regular season before narrowly falling in the District 4 championship game to Muncy, have now outscored their first two opponents this year 86-13.
Quarterback Uriah Ballie threw for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both to Ben Knapp, who hauled in eight of Baillie’s 11 completions for 151 yards. Baillie also led the Warriors in rushing with 94 yards on 14 attempts, including a touchdown, one of five Canton players that found the end zone on the ground on the afternoon.
“Uriah’s been throwing it to him since junior high so they kind of know where each other is going to be,” said Canton coach Tyler Sechrist. “Ben knows where the ball is going to be and Uriah knows where he needs to put it.
“I thought we came out a little bit flat but once they got going and into the groove they got going on all cylinders.”
Both teams traded a pair of punts each in the first quarter, and then Montgomery’s best drive of the day to that point stalled at the Canton 33 late in the first half. The Warriors took over and put together a nine-play, 67-yard drive capped by Ballie’s 35-yard touchdown to Knapp on the first play of the second quarter.
Later on the second, Canton took over at the Montgomery 32 following its first interception on the day, this one by Kayden Williams, and five plays later, Carson Stiner burst up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown to put Canton up 14-0.
The end of the half featured some back-and-forth action as the team’s traded interceptions with under two minutes, with Cooper Kitchen nabbing his first of two picks. to set up Canton at the Montgomery 36. Two plays later, Baillie found Knapp in the end zone for the second time from 27 yards out to give the Warriors a 20-0 lead.
Montgomery then seemed content to run out the clock, but Canton called timeout before a third-and-1 play from their own 44, and the Red Raiders converted, then got a 14-yard run by Kaide Drick to flip the field. One play later, Logan Almeida’s pass was tipped by the Canton defensive back, then caught by Maurice Walters, who ran it in for a 39-yard touchdown. If not for the unfortunate tip, the Warriors may have recorded the shutout.
“Our defense was huge. Montgomery scored over 30 on South Williamsport last week so I was pretty happy with the way we handled our defensive responsibilities and other than the one that gets tipped, it’s a shutout,” said Sechrist.
Feeling confident after cutting the deficit to two possessions, Montgomery successfully executed an onside kick to start the second half. But on the first play from scrimmage, Almeida’s pass was picked off by Kitchen for his second of the day, and from there, Baillie got loose for a 48-yard touchdown run to put Canton up 26-7.
“I thought we answered them well to end the first half and had some momentum going into the locker room but we made too many mistakes,” said Montgomery coach Paul Bozzella. “I wanted to maintain that momentum so we went with the surprise onside kick, we got it but the next play we throw a pick. We’re a good team and have a bright future but we’re not good enough to turn the ball over that many times and expect to win or come back from a deficit like we dug ourselves into at this point.
The Warriors would scored on their next possession as well as Owen Wesneski capped a seven-play drive with a one-yard run. That drive, which began at Canton’s own 37, featured a 45-yard reception by Knapp to flip the field.
Canton later tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter while playing mostly second-stringers.
One big advantage that Canton has this year is its roster size. The Warriors have 44 players on its roster, unusually large for a Class A school, some of which struggle to get 20 players on a yearly basis. That allows for some specialization in positions.
“It’s the most numbers we’ve had in a long time,” said Sechrist. “It helps because we’re able to play some guys one way or give a guy some series off, so you can do a lot of stuff with that. We can go up tempo with our offense like we did today because we have eight or 10 linemen that can switch in there so it’s really helpful.”
Canton 46, Montgomery 7
Montgomery (0-2) 0 7 0 0 – 7
Canton (2-0) 0 20 13 13 – 46
11:50 – (C) Ben Knapp 35-yard pass from Uriah Baillie (Knapp kick), 9-67, 3:33
3:31 – (C) Carson Stiner 10-yard run (Knapp kick), 5-32, 2:04
1:39 – (C) Ben Knapp 27-yard pass from Uriah Baillie (kick failed), 2-36, :13
:22 – (M) Maurice Walters 39-yard pass from Logan Almeida (Gabe McNear kick), 5-65, 1:17
10:35 – (C) Uriah Baillie 48-yard run (kick blocked), 5-59, 1:19
4:36 – (C) Owen Wesneski 1-yard run (Knapp kick), 7-63, 2:33
10:20 – (C) Riley Parker 31-yard run (Knapp kick), 2-24, :49
2:44 – (C) Hayden Ward 9-yard run (kick failed), 7-47, 3:36
First downs 7 22
Rushes-net yards 27-100 45-275
Passing yardage 96 176
Passing 8-23-1-5 11-24-2-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-15 4-20
RUSHING: Montgomery: Colby Springman (10-7), Kaide Drick (9-32), Braiden Beachel (4-34), Devon Deem (3-5), Steven Prince (1-22); Canton: Uriah Baillie (14-94-1), Carson Stiner (13-74-1), Owen Wesneski (9-25-1), Hayden Ward (4-32-1), Bailey Ferguson (3-14), Riley Parker (2-36-1)
PASSING: Montgomery: Logan Almeida (8-22-96-1-4), Weston Pick (0-1-0-0-1); Canton: Uriah Baillie (11-24-176-2-1)
RECEIVING: Montgomery: Maurice Walters (2-49-1), Devon Deem (2-10), Kaide Drick (1-14), Kade Showers (1-9), Steven Prince (1-9), Coltin Hans (1-5); Canton: Ben Knapp (8-151-2), Carson Stiner (1-10), Nick May (1-8), Joel Schoonover (1-7)
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