NTL FOOTBALL: CANTON COMES UP JUST SHORT AGAINST SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT
(2023-11-11)Northern Tier Sports Report
CANTON — Canton rallied from an 18-0 halftime deficit, but couldn’t quite catch South Williamsport in a nail-biter, falling 24-18 in the District IV, Class A semifinal Friday.
“It’s just a testament to the kind of kids we have here,” Canton coach Tyler Sechrist said about their second half rally. “They won’t roll over, they’ll come out and fight. We’ve been battling with injuries, some guys beat up, some guys not playing 100-percent, but they just laid it on the line the second half, and I’m proud of them. That’s what’s made us who we are. I told them at the half - don’t lay down, go out and play hard like we always do. I can’t guarantee you’re going to win, but I can guarantee if you hang your head you’re going to lose.”
Canton would cut it to 18-15 with two second half touchdowns, but South got their fourth score of the game to extend it to 24-15.
An Alexis McRoberts field goal with 4:46 left to play cut it to a one touchdown game. The Warriors would get the ball back at midfield with 3:45 left to play, but just couldn’t make that final drive.
“It was exciting,” Sechrist remarked. “I thought maybe it was going to happen. I’ve been around football enough to know that a lot of crazy things happen, and the ball has to bounce your way, and the way things were bouncing it looked like maybe we were going to have a shot at it.”
South out gained Canton on the day, 398-216, largely on the arm of quarterback Tadd Lusk. He was 8-for-13 for 226 yards and three scores, hitting Dylan Scheller (five catches, 141 yards) twice for a touchdown, and had one scoring pass to Kaiser Kistner.
On the ground Kistner had nine carries for 78-yards and a score, while Ryan Casella pounded out 88 yards on 25 carries.
While Canton had just 36 yards on the ground Ben Fitch had a strong game through the air, going 12-for-22 for 180 yards and a touchdown. Holden Ward had four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, as Zack Colton had three catches for 37 yards and Michael Davis hauled in three receptions for 37 yards.
Fitch also had 19 carries for 24 yards and a score, while Davis had five carries for 14 yards.
South got on the scoreboard first thanks to a 75-yard pass play from Lusk to Scheller. Canton blocked the extra point for the 6-0 Mountie lead with 5:55 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second Lusk found Scheller again, this time for a 35-yard scoring play. The Warriors blocked the kick for a 12-0 score with 11:22 on the block.
South’s third score came on a 5-yard Kistner run with 4:16 left in the half. Canton stopped their 2-point conversion for the 18-0 deficit going into the break.
Early in the third Fitch hit Ward for a 23-yard scoring strike to get the Warriors on the scoreboard. McRoberts’ kick was good for the 18-7 score with 9:48 on the clock.
A 1-yard Fitch run to start the fourth quarter, followed by a Holden Ward 2-point conversion rush, cut it to 18-15.
South got some breathing room when Lusk hit Kistner for a 20-yard scoring strike. The conversion failed, but the Mounties led 24-15 with 7:25 left to play.
A Davis kick-off return to the 18-yard line would end with McRoberts’ field goal to make it 24-18.
The Warriors would get the ball back at their 47-yard line with 3:45 left and two timeouts.
The finals series of plays was quite rememberable, with Canton throwing an interception, but getting the ball back when South fumbled it away - on the same play.
However, with just over a minute left Canton tried a hook and lateral, but it was fumbled and South fell on it to secure the win.
Canton ends the year 8-3, with all three of their losses coming to teams that were state ranked at the time of their games.
It will be the first time since 2017 that Canton won't be playing for a district title.
“With the guys we had I think we met expectations,” said Sechrist. “We graduated a lot, but we had some really good guys back. We had some young guys that had to step in, and 8-3, with us just missing being in the District IV finals; I think if you said that’s where we were going to be at the beginning of the year I would have been happy. Right now it’s a little disappointing because you want more for the boys, and they played their hearts out. Expectations are just high here now, and that’s just part of it, and that’s a blessing to have that.”
Canton will say good-bye to some key seniors that have been a big part of their success all four years those players were suited up for the Warriors.
“I told them out there in the huddle, I said, ‘I can’t find the words to explain what you guys meant to this program,’” Sechrist remarked. “Whatever word I say is not going to be good enough to represent what they meant to us.”
South Williamsport 24, Canton 18
S - Tadd Lusk 75-yard pass to Dylan Scheller (kick blocked), 5:55
S - Tadd Lusk 35-yard pass to Dylan Scheller (kick blocked), 11:22
S - Kaiser Kistner 5-yard run (conversion failed), 4:16
C - Ben Fitch 23-yard pass to Holden Ward (Alexis McRoberts kick), 9:48
C - Ben Fitch 1-yard run (Holden Ward run), 11:55
S - Tadd Lusk 20-yard pass to Kaiser Kistner (conversion failed), 7:25
C - Alexis McRoberts 28-yard field goal, 4:46
Kaiser Kistner 9-78-1, Ryan Casella 25-88, Tadd Lusk 2-2, Landyn Gephart 1-4
Tadd Lusk 8-13-226-3-0
Dylan Scheller 5-141-2, Landyn Gephart 2-65, Kaiser Kistner 1-20-1
Ben Fitch 19-24-1, Michael Davis 5-14, Holden Ward 2-1, Aydin Holcomb 3-(-3)
Ben Fitch 12-22-180-1-0, Hudson Ward 0-1-0-0-1
Zack Colton 3-39, Michael Davis 3-37, Holden Ward 4-90-1, Aydin Holcomb 2-14
Team Stats SW Canton
Rushes/Yards 37/172 29/36
Passing Yards 226 180
PHOTO CAPTION: Canton’s Holden Ward…PHOTOS BY LANCE LARCOM
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