CANTON, Nov. 13, 2020 – Senior Jackson Miner scored two goals against Windsor Locks on Friday to lead the Canton High boys soccer team to a 5-2 season-ending victory on the turf field outside the high school.
The Warriors, who had great hopes of contending for a Class S championship before the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short, finished the year with a 9-3 record.
Due to the pandemic that has spread across the world and is currently burning across the United States, the season was reduced to 12 games against regional competition. Canton played just 10 of 12 regular season contests due players on opposing schools testing positive for COVID and players having to sit out games in quarantine to avoid spreading the contagious disease.
Still, the Warriors got a chance to play. Football was cancelled this fall by the CIAC and every scholastic sport was cancelled last spring as the pandemic hit the nation in March.
Canton had several highlights including a 4-0 shutout over Suffield, their first shutout win over the Wildcats since 2004 and a 2-1 win over Granby in October, their first win over the Bears since 2015.
Miner also broke the career record for most goals in a career. With two goals against the Raiders in the final game of the season, Miner finished with a team-leading 15 goals to finish his scholastic career with 67 goals, breaking the mark held by All-American Karl Schilling, who scored 64 goals from 2000-03.
Miner had a hat trick in the season-opening win over Windsor Locks and had two goals in wins over SMA, Hartford Magnet Trinity Catholic Academy (HMTCA) and Locks on Friday.
He scored 27 goals as a junior, 19 as sophomore and six has a freshman.
“Goal scoring is a very individual type of skill,” long-time Canton coach Bill Phelps said. “(Jackson’s) speed, his movement and his ability to finish are unbelievable.”
Miner has used his speed to get ahead of defenders throughout his career. This year, he is getting into position to score. Against Windsor Locks on Friday, he outran a Windsor Locks defender to the ball and quickly fired a shot into the left side of the net for a goal.
His second goal came when he successfully trapped a 40-yard pass that Ty Aleksa lofted over the Windsor Locks defense. When the goalie came out of the net to challenge Miner, he spun away from him and before the goalie could leap onto the ball, he fired the ball on an angle into the net.
“He draws so much pressure that he is learning to give up the ball,” Phelps said. “In the old days if he had an opportunity, he would have shot the ball. But today, he is willing to pass. He has probably more assists this year than he has every had in his career. His goals are down but he is a team player. I’m proud of him.”
One of the team’s inspirational thoughts this season is “Alone, we are faster. Together, we are stronger.”
Spencer Mix, Aleksa and London Abbott also had goals for the Warriors against Windsor Locks. For Mix, it was ninth goal of the season and Aleksa scored his tenth. Canton ended up third in the championship pool of the NCCC West post-season tournament.
Granby won the NCCC West championship pool with a 2-1 win over Suffield on penalty kicks. The two teams tied at 1-1 after regulation but the Bears converted on four penalty kicks to secure the regional title. Eli Dehner scored in regulation for Granby (11-2-1) while Grady Kelly, Colby Milbrandt, Sean Down and Sean Dowd scored on penalty kicks.
Granby goalie Brayden Milbrandt made two big saves in the penalty kick phase to secure the win for the Bears and first-year head coach Michael Dombrowski.
2020 NCCC West tournament
Tuesday, Nov. 10 semifinals
Suffield 5, Windsor Locks 0
Granby 2, Canton 1
Thursday, Nov. 11
Final: Granby 2, Suffield 1, penalty kicks (4-1)
Third place: Canton 5, Windsor Locks 2
Monday, Nov. 9
East Granby 4, SMSA 3
Wednesday, Nov. 11
SMSA 5, HMTCA 3
Friday, Nov. 13
East Granby 6, HMTCA 4
Canton boys soccer career goals
|Jackson Miner (2017-20)||6||19||27||15||67|
|Karl Schilling (2000-03)||1||10||20||33||65|
|Ken Langevin (1982-85)||2||9||19||21||51|
|Steve McDonald (1977-80)||7||12||8||23||50|
|David Vaudreuil (1980-83)||2||8||9||28||47|
Canton boys soccer most goals, single season