By Lance Larcom
Northern Tier Sports Report
MUNCY — Canton used a dominating defensive performance and a relentless ground game to mercy-rule the host Indians here Saturday, earning a 42-7 win to claim the District IV Class A title for the second straight season and for the fourth time in school history.

“It feels great to win back-to-back district titles,” Head Coach Tyler Sechrist said, “It just solidifies this team’s place as one of Canton’s best teams ever.”

The Canton defense limited Muncy to five first downs and just 150 total yards on the night, many of which came on the Indians’ final drive, against Canton’s back-ups. Until that drive, Muncy had not run an offensive play in Canton territory.

“Our defense has played well all year,” says Sechrist, “and they were excellent tonight against a Muncy team that has been scoring an average of 40 points on teams. Coach (Greg) Bellows does a great job preparing them every week.”

After a scoreless first quarter where each team punted twice, Canton’s Michael Davis pinned the Indians deep in their own territory with a 58-yard bomb. The Warrior defense held strong once again and after a Muncy punt, took over at the Indian 41.

Riley Parker ripped off two long runs before Davis went in from 5 yards out and Bailey Ferguson’s extra-point kick was good, giving Canton it’s first lead of the game at 7-0 with 9:32 left in the half.

Canton’s suffocating defense forced another Muncy punt and the Warriors took over at their own 41. Parker finished a 65-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run, then after the defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Davis, Parker scored from 4 yards out. Ferguson was good on both kicks and his third of the game put the Warriors up 21-0 with 3:37 left in the first half.

Parker scored four times for Canton, gaining 119 yards on 17 carries. Hayden Ward had 98 yards on nine carries and a score and Weston Bellows had 74 yards on 10 totes. The Warriors rushed for 339 yards total and threw for 17 yards.

The Warriors nearly scored again before the break, but Ferguson’s 30-yard attempt missed just right as time ran out in the first half. 

Canton took the second-half kickoff and marched 70 yards in eight plays, with Ward scoring from 11 yards out. A botched snap on the extra point left Canton’s lead at 27-0 with 7:49 left in the third quarter.

On the next Muncy series, Brenen Taylor blocked an Indian punt and Mason Nelson recovered it, putting Canton on the Muncy 17. Parker would score from 14 yards out, then plunge in for the two-point conversion to push the game into the mercy rule and a running clock as Canton led 35-0.

Austin Allen intercepted a Muncy pass on the Indians’ next possession, and after an eight-yard gain by Bellows and a 34-yard gain by Hayden Ward on a broken play, Parker would again get in for a score, this time from the three. Ferguson was good once again and Canton’s lead was 42-0 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

Muncy would avoid the shutout when Austin Johnson finished off an 84-yard drive with a 34-yard touchdown run with 4:46 left in the game. 

The Warriors ran out the clock in the victory formation and the well-deserved celebration of their accomplishment that followed included a lot of hugs and smiles. Soon, the focus will switch toward the Warriors’ ultimate goal.

“We’re excited to now enter the state tournament,” Sechrist says. “We’ve been here before and we’re focused on going 1-0 each week .. and finishing it this year.”

They’ll start in two weeks, playing the District 6 champion on either Friday, November 25th or Saturday the 26th. 

Penn Manor (11-1) and Northern Cambria (9-3) will meet in the District 6 final next Saturday. The two have played once this season, with Penn Manor winning 40-14.

Canton 42, Muncy 7

Canton 0 21 21 0–42
Muncy 0 0 0 7–7

Second Quarter
C–Michael Davis 5 run (Bailey Ferguson kick), 9:32
C–Riley Parker 17 run (Ferguson kick), 4:23
C–Parker 4 run (Ferguson kick), 3:37
Third Quarter
C–Hayden Ward 12 run (run failed), 7:49
C–Parker 14 run (Parker run), 4:44
C–Parker 3 run (Ferguson kick), :35.6
Fourth Quarter
M–Austin Johnson 33 run (Rowan Revata kick), 1:53

First Downs 19 5
Rushes-yards 51-339 21-94
Passing yards 17 58
Comp-Att-Int 1-4-0 4-11-1
Total yards 356 152
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-40 5-40

RUSHING: Canton, Riley Parker 17-119, 4 TDs; Hayden Ward 9-98, TD; Weston Bellows 10-74; Bailey Ferguson 9-37; Michael Davis 3-16, TD; Hudson Ward 1-1; Ben Fitch 1-(-2); Holden Ward 1-(-4). Muncy, Austin Johnson 14-93, TD; Elijah Weikle 3-1; Branson Eyer 4-1.
PASSING: Canton, Ferguson 1-4-0, 17 yards. Muncy, B. Eyer 4-11-1, 58 yards.
RECEIVING: Canton, Bellows 1-17. Muncy, Noah Confer 2-34; Ross Eyer 1-17; Ben Robinson 1-7.

PHOTOS: Lance Larcom

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