By: Rich Rogers | Towanda Daily Review | October 1, 2007 | Photo courtesy Brent Trowbridge
The Canton Warriors celebrated homecoming at their new "home-away-from-home" last night by defeating the North Penn Panthers 20-7 at Alparon park in Troy. The win lifts the Warriors to 4-1 on the season, getting them back on track after their tough loss to Towanda last week. North Penn came up short in its second trip to Alparon in three weeks, falling to 2-3 on the year.
"I was afraid of how the kids would react to seeing North Penn's last two losses, maybe get overconfident" said Canton head coach Miller Moyer Jr. "But I felt they responded well. There was no letdown tonight."
It was a hard-hitting contest from the opening kickoff, as both defenses took control and forced the issue early. The Warrior defense made the first big play of the night as Tyrell Wheeler stepped in front of a Bryce Weaver pass and set up the Canton offense with first-and-10 at the North Penn 25-yard line. It took only six plays for the Warriors to cash in as Q.B. Reese Holmes hit Brock Parker with a little swing pass on fourth and goal that Parker carried in from 9 yards out. Marty Rockwell kicked the extra point and at 4:19 of the first quarter, Canton led 7-0.
Again, both defenses flexed their muscles as neither offense was able to sustain a drive. After stopping North Penn for the fourth time in the half, the Warriors set up shop on their own 33-yard line with just over four minutes to go till halftime. Canton went to its passing game, as Holmes completed first downs to Wheeler and tight end Kasey Lyon. On first-and-10 from the Panther 40-yard line, Lucas Bailey ran a nice reverse play for 12 yards to the 28. Holmes then threw a perfect strike over a North Penn defender to Lyon for a 28 yard score. Rockwell again added the extra point and the Warriors led 14-0 with 2:06 left in the half.
The North Penn offense found some life. Following a kickoff out of bounds, they started first and 10 at their own 35-yard line. An illegal substitution penalty and a five yard run brought the ball to the Panther 45-yard line. There, fullback Justin Harris ripped off a 15 yard gain to the Warrior 40-yard line. On the very next play, Harris again went off right tackle and rumbled 40 yards to paydirt. Randon Wilston added the extra point, and just like that the Panthers were back in the game, down 14-7.
Getting the ball back with just over a minute left, coach Moyer was not content to sit on his lead, as Holmes came out throwing and completed a 33 yard strike to Lyon on first down. The Panther defense would stiffen and Canton was forced to punt from its own 46-yard line. Jesse Kriner mishandled the punt, and the Warriors pounced on the fumble at the North Penn 23-yard line. But on first down, a halfback throwback to the quarterback was snuffed out as Graeme Zaparzynski stepped in front of Wheeler's pass and ended Canton's last threat of the first half.
The defenses went right back to work in the second half, as four punts were exchanged before Canton began a drive on the North Penn 47-yard line. Justin Brown busted off the left side for 12 yards, followed by Wheeler for six yards, and Brown again for four yards to the Panthers' 25-yard line. On the next play, Moyer went a little deeper into the playbook, as Wheeler faked a reverse handoff to Bailey and kept it himself, misleading the Panther defense and making some nice cuts on his way to a 25-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, and with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, the final score was set at 20-7.
"Although we had a few miscues, I felt Reese Holmes played real well tonight. He stepped up in the pocket and found his secondary receivers," Moyer said. "The offensive line played well, as we had to make the adjustment of moving our starting tight end to tackle this week. It's also nice to have fresh legs in the fourth quarter with the number of backs we have to run the ball."
Wheeler led the Warriors on the ground with 97 yards on 16 carries. Nick Petrowski added 39 yards on 10 carries, as Bailey had 21 yards on 11 rushes and Justin Brown added 19 yards on five carries.
Holmes completed 11 of 19 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Harris led the Panthers with 96 yards on 14 carries, Mark Fidler added 14 yards on nine tough carries, and Kyle Atkinson had 15 yards on six carries. Q.B. Bryce Weaver completed five of 20 passes for 37 yards with two interceptions.
Canton travels to Cowanesque next Friday night, as North Penn returns home next Friday to host South Williamsport.