CANTON, October 5 – The effort was there and it was better than it was a week ago in a disappointing loss to Gilbert/Northwestern. But the Canton High football team made too many mistakes and remained winless after a 21-12 Pequot Conference loss to Ellington on Friday night.
Ellington quarterback Jonathan Conte threw a touchdown pass and ran for the game-clinching touchdown with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter as the Purple Knights (1-4, 1-3 Pequot Uncas) won their first game of the season.
“We were a few plays away from completing the game,” Canton coach Dante Boffi said. “We can say that about the Coginchaug game. We can say that about the Coventry game and now, we can say it about this game.”
“It’s a handful of plays and in a good football game, that can determine a win or a loss,” Boffi said. “We’re just not quite there yet.”
Three big plays from Ellington in the fourth quarter helped the Purple Knights prevail.
Canton had cut Ellington’s lead to two points, 14-12 when Warrior quarterback Dugan Lloyd found Colin Mackin behind the defense for a 52-yard touchdown pass with 6:51 remaining in the game. The ball bounced into the air off Mackin’s hands but he was able to gather the pass in and outrun the defender to the end zone.
But on the two-point conversion run, the Ellington defense overwhelmed the Warriors’ offensive line and stopped Nathan Biega a yard short of the end zone.
Facing third down and seven yards to go on the Purple Knight 40-yard line, Conte threw a nice screen pass to Kyle Griffith, who raced 42 yards down the right sideline to the Canton 18-yard line, breaking tackles along the way.
On the next play, Nathan Schneider broke tackles and ran 12 yards to the Canton four-yard line. Several plays later, Conte capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:18 remaining. Ethan Martins kicked his third extra point of the evening for a 21-12 lead.
“We’re young. We’re inexperienced and we make a lot of mistakes,” Ellington coach Sean Byrne said. “But the kids persevered. (Quarterback) Jon Conte rallied the troops. It feels good to be in the win column.”
Ellington won despite committing 16 penalties for 148 yards, including one penalty that negated a second quarter touchdown. Canton was flagged six times for 50 yards.
Despite the penalties, Ellington made plays. They forced three turnovers, recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass.
Canton (0-5, 0-4 Pequot Uncas) made plays as well. Carter Gavin had four tackles for losses while Joey Fitzgerald had three sacks for 27 yards and a tackle for a loss. Mackin had his exciting touchdown catch and run and quarterback Dugan Lloyd ran well with 63 yards on 13 carries.
“The loss is unfortunate because we had a lot of kids with great individual efforts,” Boffi said. “Ryan (Delehoy) and Charlie (Parchen) on the line played their hearts out. For every big play (we had), there was a breakdown (defensively). We’ll clean those up. This was the effort we are capable of.”
For the second straight game, Canton scored on their opening drive. The Warriors marched 65 yards on 13 plays with a scrambling Lloyd finding Gavin Wood in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown reception with 5:04 gone in the first quarter. The key play in the drive was Lloyd’s scramble for 36 yards on fourth down and 10 from the Ellington 41-yard line that keep the drive going.
The two-point conversion run failed leaving Canton with a 6-0 lead.
Ellington took advantage of their opportunities to take the lead late in the first half.
The Warriors were pinned deep in their own territory. Canton had stopped the Purple Knights on the one-yard line when Conte scrambled for 12 yards on a fourth down and goal play from the 13 yard line with 4:29 remaining. Conte dove for the pylon but just missed.
Starting on their own one-yard line, Canton gained just three yards on three running plays. The punt on fourth down went just 14 yards, giving the Knights the ball on the 17. On a fourth down-and-six play, Conte found Steve Moller crossing across the back of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown reception with 1:48 left. Martins’ extra point gave the Knights a 7-6 lead.
Ellington took a 14-6 lead in the third quarter. After a punt, Canton began their first drive of the third quarter on their own 10-yard line. But the Warriors came up short on a fourth down-and-five run from their 15-yard line and the Knights took over on downs at the 17.
Four plays later, it was Griffith who ran over a few Canton defenders on a five-yard touchdown run with 5:23 left in the third quarter to give the Knights an eight-point advantage.
Canton has a week off before they travel to Windsor Locks on Saturday, October 20 to face Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby at 1 p.m. The Warriors return home to the turf field on Friday, November 2 when they will host SMSA/University/Classical at 7 p.m.
NOTES: It was the fourth straight win for Ellington over the Warriors. Ellington owns a 10-2 margin in the series. Ellington was a co-op team with Somers through 2014 when the co-op had to be broken up.
Ellington 21, Canton 12
Ellington (1-4) 0 7 7 7 — 21
Canton (0-5) 6 0 0 6 — 12
C: Gavin Wood 7 pass from Dugan Lloyd (run fails), 5:04
E: Steve Moller 13 pass from Jonathan Conte (Ethan Martins kick), 1:48
E: Kyle Griffith 5 run (Martins kick), 5:23
C: Colin Mackin 52 pass from Lloyd (run fails), 6:51
E: Conte 1 run (Martins kick), 1:18
RUSHING: Canton – Dugan Lloyd 13-63, Carter Gavin 12-32, Braydon Fluckiger 3-12, Joey Fitzgerald 2-1, Nate Biega 1-1; Ellington – Jon Conte 9-minus 11, Nathan Schneider 10-52, Kyle Griffiths 13-54, Jeremy avis 1-2, Xavier Velez 3-13
PASSING: Canton – Dugan Lloyd 2-12-1, 59; Carter Gavin 0-1; Ellington – Jon Conte 6-13-0, 77
RECEIVING: Canton – Gavin Wood 1-7, Colin Mackin 1-52; Ellington – Steve Moller 3-24, Kyle Griffith 2-47, Colin Garrow 1-10, Xavier Velez 1-1