CANTON, Sept. 10 – The heat and the Nonnewaug High football team were too much for Canton on a hot and sticky Saturday afternoon on the turf field at the high school.
Nonnewaug quarterback Jarrett Michaels completed four passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 28-0 Pequot Conference West Division victory in a game that was called at halftime due to excessive heat.
“Due to the heat, a lot of guys were having a difficult time,” Canton coach Mike Guy said. “The safety of the kids is paramount.”
It was in the low 90s and humid on Saturday but it can be even hotter on the artificial turf surface since the field is comprised of thousands of bits of crumb rubber that can absorb and retain heat. Canton began playing on the field in November 2013.
An additional challenge for the Warriors is the low number of players in the program – just 25. There are few substitutes available to give teammates time to rest. And most players have to play offensively and defensively.
Nonnewaug (1-0, 1-0 Pequot West) did take the early lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Michaels to Aiden Leonard, who got behind the defensive back and was wide open for the touchdown with 10:45 gone in the first period. Leonard scored on another 40-yard touchdown pass from Zack Maruo with 14 seconds left in the first period for a 13-0 lead.
Mauro also scored on a 53-yard run while Joseph Contento scored on a 70-yard pass from Michaels for a 27-0 lead. Mauro led all rushers with 115 yards on six carries.
Canton (0-1, 0-1 Pequot West) was led by Bradedon Bean, who had a team-high 103 yards on 12 carries.
“We had some good holes for (Bean),” Guy said. “We spread the ball around a bit (on offense). We played some good defense at the beginning. But when the heat got to us, we weren’t able to execute.”
Canton won’t have to worry about the heat in their next game. They’ll be traveling to Van Why Field in Winsted to face Gilbert/Northwestern under the lights on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.
The Yellowjackets wore down Lewis Mills in the heat on Saturday at Muzzy Field in Bristol in a 41-12 decision.
Nonnewaug 27, Canton 0**
Nonnewaug (1-0) 13 14 – 27
Canton (0-1) 0 0 — 0
**Game called after two quarters due to heat and safety concerns
N: Aiden Leonard 40 pass from Jarrett Michaels (Michaels kick), 10:45
N: Leonard 40 pass from Zach Mauro (kick fails), 0:14
N: Mauro 53 run (Michaels kick), 9:08
N: Joseph Contento 70 pass from Michaels (Michaels kick), 3:33
RUSHING: Canton: Braedon Bean 12-103, Alex Higley 4-13, Jack Szczepanski 2-9, Connor McGeough 2-2, Nonnewaug: Zach Mauro 6-115, Garrett Lawlor 3-2, Krizan 2-13, Jarrett Michaels 2-13
PASSING: Canton – Alex Higley 5-12-1, 34; Nonnewaug: Jarrett Michaels 4-10-0, 143, Zach Mauro 1-1, 40
RECEIVING: Canton – Connor McGeough 1-10, Dugan Lloyd 1-9, Carson Humphrey 1-9, Gavin Wood 2-6; Nonnewaug: Aiden Leonard 3-107, Joseph Contento 1-70, Garrett Lawlor 1-6