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NTL FOOTBALL: PENALTIES, LATE GAME MISCUES HURT CANTON IN STATE SEMIFINAL LOSS TO BISHOP GUILFOYLE (2021-12-04)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
ALTOONA — Football is a game of inches, and, sometimes whoever wins the battle of the inches wins the game. Bishop Guilfoyle bent but didn’t break defensively, while taking advantage of good field position - which added up to a 20-7 win over Canton in the PIAA, Class A semifinals.

It was a reverse of last week against Old Forge - Canton out gained BG 291-225, but struggled in areas they won in the first two weeks - penalties and turnovers. 


“We didn’t play our best game today,” said coach Tyler Sechrist. “We had a lot of mistakes, and penalties, that, when we were driving, kind of put us back. You can’t play that way against a team like Bishop Guilfoyle. They’re just too good a team to make mistakes (against), and we just didn’t play sharp enough to beat them.”


In the first half penalties stalled out drives, while in the second half BG quarterback Karson Keisewetter was able to extend drives by drawing encroachments. Canton was flagged eight times for 67-yards in penalties while BG just had four miscues for 51-yards.


“I think jitters, and the position we were in, trying to make something happen,” Sechrist said about the penalties. “The kids just wanted to get off the ball, and make a play. It was very uncharacteristic of us, just to have that many mental mistakes.”


The Warriors, which had created 11 turnovers the last two weeks, couldn’t get one against the Marauders.


Riley Parker had 130 yards on 22 carries, plus their lone touchdown, to lead a Canton ground game that pounded out 271 yards. Weston Bellows chipped in with 46-yards on five carries, while Hayden Ward had seven touches for 33-yards.


However, they struggled through the air, with Kitchen going just 2-for-5 for 20-yards with an interception. Bellows had both catches for 20-yards.


It was the Keiselwetter show for BG, as he had 120-yards rushing, and three touchdowns, on 20 carries, while throwing for 70-yards on 5-of-9. 


The Warriors did a good job of shutting down BG’s other weapons - Cooper Rother had just 15-yards on 14 carries, while through the air no one receiver stood out - but when it came to making the big plays, Keiselwetter did it time, and time again.


Despite posting strong drives early both teams came up empty through the first quarter, though BG nearly got three points on a field goal try.


In the middle of the second quarter Canton looked to be in business thanks to three straight runs over seven or more yards to get to the Marauder 47-yard line.


However, a holding call on their fourth play of the drive, a 2nd-and-3, negated a first down run, pushing them into second-and-13. 


A 6-yard run by Parker made it a manageable third down - just seven yards to the first - but BG snuffed out Canton’s attempt to set up a screen, with Kitchen forced to throw it away. He was called for intentional grounding, which forced them to punt inside their own 30-yard line.


It was the break BG needed, as they took over in Canton territory - at the 46-yard line - with Keisewetter finding a lane on the right side for 33-yards down to the Warrior 13 on the first play of the drive. 


He added another seven yards on the next play, then punched it in from 5-yards out on the third play from scrimmage for the first score of the day.


BG’s Deven Wyandt added the point after, and it was 7-0 with 3:23 left in the half.


Canton started the ensuing drive at their own 16-yard line, and went 3-and-out, once again giving BG prime field position to start their next possession. The Marauders took over at the Canton 40-yard line, but were stuffed on their first play.


A holding call against them on the next set up a second-and-20. They would get that down to a third-and-seven, but it looked like Canton had Keiselwetter trapped in the pocket. He slid out, though, and hit Patrick Reilly for a first down.


On the next play Canton’s blitz seemed to get him again - they even got a hand on him - but he wiggled out and found Drew Abraham for a 16-yard gain for first and goal.


Time was running low, so BG spiked the ball. With less than 20 seconds left their next play was an incompletion. 


On third-and-goal from the eight Canton ran a stunt, and the linebacker came up the middle untouched. Keiselwetter, though, ran left, got the edge, and trotted into the end zone for the score with 13 seconds to play.


Wyandt added the point after to make it 14-0 at the break.


Canton got the ball coming out of the halftime, and put together the type of drive they’ve been known for all year. It was a 11-play - all runs - 66-yard scoring possession, ending with a Parker power run through the line from less than a yard out on fourth down.


“I told them we’ve been here before,” said Sechrist. “We were here last week. We’re not going to quit, no matter what happens.”


It began with back to back 15-yard runs from Parker to get to the BG 35-yard line. The Marauders forced them to a fourth-and-inches on the next set of downs, but a Parker 6-yard gain over the left side saw Canton get into the red zone.


Bellows then carried half the Marauder defense down inside the 10-yard line to the seven on his 12-yard run for a first and goal.


The BG defense stiffened, as Canton used two 3-yard runs to get to the 1-yard line. They stuffed Kitchen on the sneak attempt, but Parker found his way into the end zone on the next play. 


Bailey Ferguson’s kick made it 14-7 with 6:08 left in the third quarter, putting the Warriors back in business.


“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Sechrist remarked. “We’ve got to start controlling the line of scrimmage, and they did.”


Now their defense needed to get a stop, and it looked like they had one when they forced a third-and-11 right off the bat. However, Keiselwetter had other ideas, as, when he dropped back to pass, he found room to his right, and rattled off 15-yards to move the sticks.


On the ensuing play BG tried a jet sweep with Rother, but Mason Shultz caught him five yards deep. However, that was negated by an encroachment call on Canton on second down. BG then went power the next four plays, running it down to the Canton 35-yard line.


That’s where the Warrior defense stiffened, forcing a 4th-and-3. Rother tried going over the top, but he couldn’t extend the ball, only getting two yards, and they turned it over on downs.


However, the Marauders sufficiently killed the clock, taking the possession into the fourth quarter. With drives going into the 6-7 minute range, Canton would have two, maybe just one possession, left in the game.


They started at their own 26-yard line, and began with three straight Parker runs to get to the 37-yard line, and a new set of downs. 


A 12-yard Bellows run over the left edge got Canton to midfield, but they were stilted after that, as three straightruns yielded just four yards.


On fourth-and-6 they tried a fake punt, but the Marauders snuffed it out, tackling Bailey Ferguson well short of the first down marker.


BG took over at their own 45-yard line and immediately got another break as Canton was flagged for a 15-yard penalty, putting the Marauders at the Warrior 37-yard line.


Two short run plays went nowhere for BG, but on third-and-long it was Keiselwetter again making something happen. On a design run to the left he snuck out right and got six yards to the 26-yard line, just enough to move the sticks.


Two plays later, though, Gother got tackled seven yards deep by Michael Davis, back over the 30-yard line. 


BG would get those yards back on third down, but it was 4th-and-long so they brought out Wyandt again. His kick from 44-yards was good, but Canton was called for encroachment, forcing a do-over. Wyandt tried again from 39-yards, but it was wide left, giving the Warriors one last chance.


With time dwindling down Canton took over at the 20-yard line, and brought out the trick play again, this time the hook-and-ladder, which worked well against Old Forge. However, the pitch missed it’s mark, and rolled down to the 15-yard line, where BG fell on it.


From there the Marauders needed four plays to punch it into the end zone, this time on a Keiselwetter 1-yard run. The point after was blocked, but it was 20-7 with 1:22 left to play.


Canton tried spreading things out to start the next drive but, on the first play, Kitchen’s pass was picked off, ending the contest.


It’s a rough way to end such a magnificent season for Canton. They finish 13-1 - their first NTL Division-I title since 1998, their first District IV title since 1990, and they nabbed their first two state wins in school history.


“It was just amazing, the best season in Canton High School football history,” remarked Sechrist. “Of course, we wanted more, and thought we could do more, but looking back on it, and what they were able to accomplish, is amazing.”



PHOTO CAPTION: Canton’s Riley Parker looks for running room behind teammate Hayden Ward…PHOTOS BY LANCE LARCOM / VIDEO BY EDDIE LARCOM


Bishop Guilfoyle 20, Canton 7


Bishop Guilfoyle 0 14 0 6 — 20

Canton               0 0 7 0 — 7


Second quarter

BG—Karson Keisewetter 5 yard run (kick good), 3:22

BG—Karson Keisewetter 8 yard run (kick good), 0:13

Third quarter

C—Riley Parker 1 yard run (kick good), 6:08

Fourth quarter

BG—Karson Kieisewetter 1 yard run (kick no good), 1:22


C BG

First Downs 13 13

Rushes-Yards 42-271 37-155

Comp-Att-Int 2-5-1 5-9-0

Passing 20 70

Total Yards 291 225

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 8-67 4-51


Rushing: Canton — Riley Parker 22-130; Hayden Ward 7-33; Weston Bellows 5-46; Hudson Ward 3-8; Cooper Kitchen 3-(-10); Michael Davis 2-14. Bishop Guilfoyle — Karson Kiesewetter 20-120; Cooper Rother 14-15; Drew Abraham 3-20.

Passing: Canton —Cooper Kitchen 2-5-1 20 yds. Bishop Guilfoyle — Karson Kiesewetter 5-9-0 70 yds.

Receiving: Canton — Weston Bellows 2-20. Bishop Guilforyle —Dominic Yanoshak 1-30; Cooper Rother 1-13; Drew Abraham 2-25; Patrick Reilly 1-5.

Interception: Vincent Cioffari.

Records: Canton (13-1); Bishop Guilfoyle (10-4).



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