CANTON, November 21 – The Granby Memorial football team had just arrived in Canton and was beginning their pre-game warmups in preparation for Wednesday night’s traditional Thanksgiving Eve contest when the sky opened up.
Cold, wet snow filled the air for about 10 minutes or so – enough time to leave about a quarter inch of snow all over Canton’s turf field.
To the players, it was magical. “We thought of it as a Thanksgiving miracle,” Granby senior Ben Kibby said. “No one was expecting snow so we came out and saw snow, we pumped. No one was unhappy about it.”
It was challenging night to play. It was cold Tuesday night with temperatures in the high 20s at kickoff with the wind swirling the snow around the field.
But it didn’t hamper the Bears, who scored twice in the second quarter to beat Canton, 20-7 and win the old, red milk jug for the fourth straight year. Granby won four of their final five games and finished with a 7-3 record and 6-2 in the Pequot Uncas division.
The Bears tried to put the game away in the second half but had a potential 13-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jackson Rome negated by a holding penalty and had two drives end due to fumbling the ball away to Canton.
“It wasn’t the best football we ever players but these kids have heart,” Granby coach Erik Shortell said. “They never give up. We’ve seen that for the last three years from this senior class. They never give up”
The Granby defense forced a Canton turnover to end a long drive on the Bear 27-yard line with 8:21 left in the fourth quarter. The Warriors showed the ability to move the ball. But, as they have all year, made tough mistakes in impossible situations.
“We played maybe as well as we have played all year,” Canton coach Dante Boffi said. “We moved the ball up and down the field but we had a few fumbles and a couple of mistakes. They moved (the ball) too and we had some great stops. It was an awesome high school football game.”
The Bears took a 7-0 lead on Garrett Strain’s two-yard run – his seventh rushing touchdown of the season – and the extra point from Matt Zyzdorf.
The Warriors (1-9, 0-8 Pequot Uncas) responded with a 1-yard run from Carter Gavin. The Warriors drove to the Granby three-yard line but the Bears, who had five shutouts the season and allowed just 12 points in their last three games, responded.
They stopped Canton on three consecutive plays inside the five-yard line before Gavin scored his first touchdown of the season. Canton missed on the two-point conversion run, cutting the Granby lead to one point, 7-6.
Back-to-back scoring drives in the second quarter gave the Bears a 14-point lead at halftime, 20-6. Rome scored on a one-yard run before Dylan Disabella scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Rome. It was Disabella’s team-leading fourth TD pass of the year and the 11th TD pass of the season for Rome.
“They’ll never forget this,” Shortell said. “They’ll remember this for the rest of their lives.”
Granby 20, Canton 6
Granby (7-3) 7 13 0 0 — 20
Canton (1-9) 6 0 0 0 — 6
G: Garrett Strain 2 run (Matt Zyzdorf kick)
C: Carter Gavin 1 run (run fails)
G: Jackson Rome 1 run (kick fails)
G: Dylan Disabella 16 pass from Rome (Zyzdorf kick)
RUSHING: Canton — Dugan Lloyd 15-75, Braydon Fluckiger 1-2, Carter Gavin 16-84, Nate Biega 1-2, Joey Fitzgerald 2-2; Granby — Jackson Rome 8-38, Dylan Disabella 8-72, Sam Attianese 4-43, Garrett Strain 12-100
PASSING: Canton — Dugan Lloyd 9-22-3, 69; Granby — Jackson Rome 7-11-0, 124
RECEIVING: Canton — Colin Mackin 2-4, Carter Gavin 3-18, Donovan Mackin 3-42, Gavin Wood 1-5; Granby — Attianese 3-37, Strain 3-67, Rowan Heinze 1-20
INTERCEPTIONS: Dylan Disabella (G), Sam Attianese (G) 2; FUMBLE REC: Andel Smith (G)