Warriors win battle in the trenches; snap five-game losing streak
10/31/2016 8:41 AM

Friday night’s football game at Canton South between the Wildcats and the Carrollton Warriors was an old fashion battle in the trenches.

The Warriors won the battle 20-17 on a field that was rain-soaked and muddy.

Carrollton received the opening kick off but failed to move the sticks and punted to the Wildcats.

The Wildcats started their first possession at their own 18-yard line. cole-russell-web

Canton South quarterback Silas Snyder connected with Dajohn Ezell down the sideline, moving the pigskin into Warrior territory at the 48-yard line. The Wildcats drove the ball into the red zone to the 15-yard line before the Warriors held them to a 32-yard field goal attempt, which fell short of the crossbar. The Warriors took over at their own 20-yard line.

After another three-and-out, Jacob Grubbs set up to punt the ball with his back to the end zone.

The ball was snapped over his head and into the end zone with a host of Wildcats in tow. Grubbs kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone, but the Wildcats were on the scoreboard with a two-point safety.

Chase Flanagan and the Warriors offense responded with 5:52 left in the second quarter when Flanagan broke free for a 66-yard touchdown run. Taylor Keefer’s kick was successful and the Warriors led 7-2.

That score stood until a couple minutes into the third quarter when Ezell gave the Wildcats a 9-7 lead with a four-yard touchdown.

The Warriors threatened to take the lead with four minutes left in the third period but were stopped on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line.

The Wildcats took over. On the first play, Ezell took the handoff and juggled the ball. The ball popped out of his hands and landed in the hands of Carrollton senior linebacker Cole Russell, who scooped the pigskin up and ran into the end zone for the Warriors’ first defensive touchdown of the season. Keefer’s kick was good and Carrollton jumped back into the lead, 14-9 with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter.

Luck with a fumble struck again in the fourth quarter for the Warriors. Adam Shaw sat in the backfield, waiting for the snap of the ball. The ball hit the grass and rolled around before Carrollton senior Jacob Knipp snatched it up and ran 14 yards for a touchdown. The snap on the extra-point attempt was mishandled and the Warriors led 20-9 with 8:30 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats cut the margin to 20-17 with just under six minutes left in the game. Ezell scored from 41 yards out and then added the two-point conversion.

With time running out, the Wildcats drove to the Warriors 12-yard line before where junior Parker Crim intercepted a Snyder pass to seal the win.

Crim had three interceptions, the second most in school history. RJ Ramano had four interceptions against West Branch Oct. 20, 2000.

“We knew this was going to be a dog fight in the rain,” said Carrollton Coach Eric McCort. “What I loved is our kids were excited to play in this: this is football. This is the one thing I love about real field over turf, this is a thing of beauty.”

“We couldn’t play this game any better than these boys did, the effort and the heart they had going into the game,” McCort said. “We knew one of our guys was going to make a play at the end, we just knew it. I thought our offensive line played well in this weather and our defense played outstanding ball.”

With the win, the Warriors earn their first league win of the season and improve to 4-5 on the season.

The Warriors will host Minerva, or as McCort says, “that team up North”, Oct. 28 at Community Field in the final game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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