CANTON, October 26 – The Canton High football team made some big plays in the second half Friday night to erase a 16-point deficit and beat visiting Woodstock Academy, 18-16, to win their first game of the season.
After taking their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter and forcing the visiting Centaurs to punt, Canton converted three times on fourth drive to eat up the final 5:30 of the game to earn the victory and snap a nine-game losing streak in the first-ever meeting on the gridiron between the two schools.
The visiting Centaurs led 16-0 in the second quarter thanks to a 35-yard interception return from Ian Welz and a 67-yard touchdown reception to Travis White. But the Warriors kept plugging away – even after starting running back and linebacker Carter Gavin hurt his foot in the second quarter and couldn’t continue playing.
Canton cut the lead to 10 points late in the second quarter when quarterback Dugan Lloyd scored on a 55-yard touchdown run, trimming the lead to 16-6. Lloyd ran for a game-high 160 yards on 13 carries.
At halftime, Gavin was ruled out of the game so Brayden Fluckinger was moved to linebacker and sophomore Nate Biega picked up the load running the ball. Biega ran for a career-high 115 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Woodstock took the opening kick of the second half and drove deep into Canton territory. But on a key third down, Fluckinger blitzed and made a sack which resulted in the Centaurs trying a field goal, which they missed. He finished with two sacks in the game.
On Canton’s first drive of the third quarter, the Warriors converted twice on fourth down to keep the drive moving before Biega ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run right up the middle behind the blocking of Charlie Parchen, Ryan Delahoy and Fluckinger. The Warriors missed the extra point but cut the lead to 16-12.
Woodstock was able to move the ball but Canton came up with some big stops. The Warriors forced a fumble and recovered on the Canton one-yard line to stop a Centaur drive early in the fourth quarter.
Canton converted with a big gamble on a punt to keep the drive alive. On fourth down, the Warriors faked the punt and Lloyd scrambled out of the end zone for 11 yards and a first down. That kept the drive alive until Lloyd found Colin Mackin for a 75-yard touchdown reception that gave Canton the lead for the first time, 18-16.
Under pressure, Lloyd rolled out of the pocket and found Mackin, who caught the ball, faked out a Centaur defender and raced downfield for the touchdown.
Canton’s defense got the job done, forcing Woodstock to punt with 5:30 remaining in the game. And the Centaurs wouldn’t see the ball again.
Canton ate up the remainder of the game, converting three times on fourth down to keep the drive going. Lloyd competed a fourth down pass to Donovan Mackin to keep the drive going. On another fourth down, Lloyd completed a 12-yard pass to Gavin Wood for the first down as Wood hurdled a defender to get the first down.
The final conversion came on a fourth down and 11 play near midfield. Running behind a pair of freshmen linemen – Jordan Williams and Chris Dineen – it was Lloyd who picked up 12 yards running through a pair of Centaur defenders for the first down and allowing Canton to run out the clock.
And for the first time this season, Canton lined up in the victory formation to run out the clock.
“With chants of ‘our house’ echoing thru the Canton campus, a game that on paper was a mismatch, turned into a night these young men will never forget,” Canton coach Dante Boffi said.
The game was scheduled to be played on Saturday in Woodstock but with the forecast for rain, the game was moved to Friday night in Canton on the turf field.
The Warriors return to action on Friday night when they return to Pequot Conference action when they host the SMSA/University High/Hartford Classical co-op team at 7 p.m. on the turf field in Canton.
Canton 18, Woodstock Academy 16
Woodstock Academy (1-6) 8 8 0 0 — 16
Canton (1-6) 0 6 6 6 — 18
W: Ian Welz 35 interception (Travis White pass from Nick Bedard)
W: Travis White 67 pass from Derek Thompson (Caleb Feen run)
C: Dugan Lloyd 55 run (run fails)
C: Nathan Biega 48 run (kick fails)
C: Conor Mackin 75 pass from Lloyd (pass fails)
RUSHING: Canton – Nate Biega 13-115, Dugan Lloyd 13-160, Carter Gavin 8-64, Joey Fitzgerald 4-11, Brayden Fluckinger 2-2
PASSING: Canton – Dugan Lloyd 8-15-1, 178
RECEIVING: Canton – Colin Mackin 1-75, Gavin Wood 3-22, Carter Gavin 1-5, Donovan Mackin 3-76