CANTON, Oct. 28 – After giving up two touchdowns and the lead in the final 1:32 of the second quarter, the Canton High football team took command in Saturday’s Pequot Conference game with Nonnewaug on the turf field at the high school.
Canton ate up 11:15 of the third quarter with a methodical drive and stopped an attempted two-point conversion by the visiting Chiefs with 1:17 left in the game to earn their first victory since November 2014 with an exciting 30-28 triumph.
On Senior Day, the Warriors (1-6) snapped a school-record 27-game losing streak with the win. The last win for Canton was a Thanksgiving morning win over Granby in November 2014 on this same field that clinched an Pequot Uncas Division championship and a berth in the CIAC Class S playoffs.
It has taken time for the Warriors to realize how hard they have to play – on every play – to achieve some success on the field. “They’re beginning to understand what it takes to be football players,” Canton High coach Dante Boffi said. “They’re beginning to understand you have to go 100 percent on every play. You can’t take a play off.”
A week earlier in a 32-point loss to Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby, the Warriors coughed up the ball nine times. They lost seven turnovers. There was a more intense focus this week by the Warriors against the Chiefs.
Canton ran for 345 yards against Nonnewaug to control the contest and keep the Chiefs offense off the field. Boffi praised Braydon Fluckiger for his hard running up the middle. He ran for 91 yards on 19 carries. “He was just a bull,” Boffi said. “He took on the load up the middle and it opened up (plays) on the edges.”
Sophomore Carter Gavin led the way, racing for a team-high 133 yards on 13 carries. Quarterback Dugan Lloyd ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Lloyd also recovered a Nonnewaug fumble and an onside kick for the Warriors.
Defensively, Canton had eight sacks in the game led by Ryan Delahoy with three. Jack Rivette, Lloyd, Carson Humphrey, Joe Fitzgerald and Travis Abate each had one.
“It was an awesome team effort,” Boffi said. “Everyone who got on the field contributed in some way.”
Canton (1-6, 0-5 Pequot Uncas) took a 8-0 lead in the first quarter on a one-yard run from Lloyd and a two-point conversion run from Gavin. After Nonnewaug tied the game on a 33-yard run by quarterback Justin Southard and a successful two-point conversion, Lloyd put Canton back in front.
Lloyd ran 21 yards for a touchdown with 8:03 left in the first half with Carson Humphrey running for a two-point conversion and a 16-8 lead.
The Chiefs (1-6, 1-4 Pequot Sassacus) scored two touchdowns in the final 1:32 of the second quarter. Michaels scored on runs of 18 and eight yards as the Chiefs took a 22-16 lead at halftime.
Canton didn’t flinch in the third quarter, eating up nearly the entire quarter with a scoring drive. Carter Gavin capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left in the third quarter to give Canton a 24-22 lead.
The Warriors extended the lead in the fourth quarter when Gavin Wood caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Lloyd with 6:17 left in the game. Carter Gavin’s two-point conversion run gave Canton a 30-22 lead.
Nonnewaug didn’t quit, marching down the field. Southard completed an eight-yard pass to Kurtis Krizan with 1:17 left in the game to cut the Warrior lead to 30-28. On the two-point conversion play, Canton swarmed over Southard to secure the win.
“We stopped (Southard) and stripped the ball from him,” Boffi said.
NOTES: Seniors Travis Abate, Yu Xiang Lin, Peter Melniczek and Jack Rivette were honored in pre-game ceremonies. The final three games of the season will be on the road. Canton plays at Dillon Stadium on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. to face SMSA/University/Classical before traveling to Rockville on Friday night, Nov. 11 for another night game. The season finale is on Thanksgiving Eve on Thursday, Nov. 22 at Granby at 6:30 p.m.
Canton 30, Nonnewaug 28
Nonnewaug 0 22 0 6 — 28
Canton 8 8 6 8 – 30
C: Dugan Lloyd 1 run (Carter Gavin run), 2:04
N: Justin Southard 33 run (Jarrett Michaels run), 11:50
C: Lloyd 21 run (Carson Humphrey run), 8:03
N: Jarrett Michaels 18 run (run fails), 1:32
N: Michaels 8 yd run (Jarrett Micheals pass from Justin Southard), 0:05
C: Carter Gavin 10 run (run fails), 0:45
C: Gavin Wood 7 pass from Lloyd (Carter Gavin run), 6:17
N: Kurtis Krizan 8 pass from Southard (run fails) 1:17
RUSHING: Canton – Calen McKane 2-8, Carter Gavin 13-133, Braydon Fluckiger 19-91, Carson Humphrey 8-36, Dugan Lloyd 10-77
PASSING: Canton – Dugan Lloyd 2-8-1, 12; Carter Gavin 0-1-0, 0; Nonnewaug – Justin Southard 12-18-1, 128
RECEIVING: Canton – Gavin Wood 1-7, Carson Humphrey 1-5
RETURNS: Canton – McKane 1-13 (kickoff)
SACKS: Canton – Ryan Delahoy 3, Jack Rivette, Dugan Lloyd, Carson Humphrey, Joe Fitzgerald, Travis Abate