Yellowjacket defense dominates as Gilbert/NWR beats Canton, 38-8

Canton QB Caleb McKane (12), shown earlier this year against the Coventry co-op squad, threw a TD pass in Saturday’s loss to Gilbert/Northwestern. (Photo courtesy Clark Klinkert)

CANTON, Sept. 30 – The Canton High football can’t afford to make too many mistakes. Visiting Gilbert/Northwestern caused five turnovers Saturday and Billy Komons ran for a game-high 160 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Yellowjackets to a 38-8 Pequot Uncas Division victory over Canton.

Gilbert/NWR quarterback Chase Sanden intercepted three passes as the Yellowjackets (2-2, 2-1 Pequot Uncas) picked off four passes, recovered a fumble, had eight tackles for losses and sacked Canton quarterbacks three times for 24 yards.

“With only four seniors on the team and just one starting, it is a young team,” Canton head coach Dante Boffi said. “We’re asking a lot of these young men to come in and play significant minutes as sophomores and freshmen.

“As I said in the preseason, we’re here to build a program and it’s a long-term plan – not a quick fix. Seven of 11 starters on both sides of the ball are sophomores and freshmen,” Boffi said. “The growth has been tremendous but there is still a long way to go.”

Canton (0-4, 0-3 Pequot Uncas) lost their school-record 25th straight game dating back to the final game of the 2014 campaign in the semifinals of the CIAC Class S Small Division tournament. The Yellowjackets beat the Warriors for the eighth time in the last nine games.

The Warriors scored on an 11-yard pass to Dugan Lloyd from quarterback Caleb McKane in the third quarter. Carter Gavin led Canton in rushing with 32 yards on nine carries. Receiver Gavin Wood caught three passes for 34 yards.

“We have moments of offensive clarity but it’s not consistent enough (yet),” he said. “Footwork, responsibility, timing are all moving in the right direction but it’s not always evident on game day. Defensively, when everyone does their job, the result is positive. The defensive schemes are beginning to click but the toughness and grit it takes to play hard-nosed defense are still in the infant stages.”

Still, Boffi is optimistic about what the future holds.

“We’re getting smarter and tougher every week,” he said. “The element of learning how to win is the task at hand. It will come and when it does, I truly think it will be infectious. These players are hungry and willing to put the team in front of the individual. That is very important for any program that hopes to change a culture and play winning football.”

Carter Gavin had an interception for Canton while Nathan Biega recovered a fumble. Colin Macklin returned four kickoffs for 67 yards.

The Warriors return to action on Saturday when they travel to Ellington to face the winless Purple Knights, who are also 0-4 on the year.

Gilbert/NWR 38, Canton 8
At Canton
Gilbert/NWR (2-2)               14  12  6  6 — 38
Canton (0-4)                          0   0   8  0  — 8
First quarter
G: E.J. Claman 6 run (Chris Nanni kick), 7:10
G: Zack Horvay-McLellan 4 run (Nanni kick), 6:01
Second quarter
G: Billy Komons 14 run (kick failed), 8:03
G: Komons 33 pass from Chase Sanden (kick fails), 4:02
Third quarter
C: Dugan Lloyd 11 pass from Caleb McKane (Gavin Wood pass from McKane), 4:35
G: Sam Mussen 3 pass from Sanden (kick fails), 1:10
Fourth quarter
G: Komons 1 run (kick fails), 8:53
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Gilbert/NWR – Billy Komons 26-160, Marco Folino 3-1, Tom Yarbosky 4-7, Barry Longo 3-14, Chase Sanden 3-19, E.J. Claman 9-73, Z. Horvay-McLellan 5-21, Brad Lissy 3-6; Canton – Caleb McKane 15-20, Carter Gavin 9-32, Braydon Fluckiger 1-2
PASSING: Gilbert/NWR – Chase Sanden 1-2-0, 33; Brad Lissy 2-6-1, 10; Canton – Caleb McKane 5-16-3, 80; Dugan Lloyd 1-10-1, 11; Carter Gavin 1-1-0, 18
RECEIVING: Gilbert/NWR – Komons 1-33, Sam Mussen 1-3, Dylan Mulligan 1-7; Canton – Carter Gavin 1-26, Gavin Wood 4-34, Dugan Lloyd 2-42
RETURNS: Kickoffs – Carter Gavin (C) 2-19, Colin Macklin (C) 4-67
FUMBLE REC: Biega (C); INTERCEPTIONS: Carter Gavin (C), Chase Sanden (G) 3-8, Brad Lissy (G) 1-1; SACKS: Nanni (G) 1-6, Longo (G) 1-8, Claman (G) 1-10

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