By: Terry Pruyne | Towanda Daily Review | October 15, 2017
SAYRE — Canton used a big-play offense in the second half to distance themselves from the Redskins in a 33-0 victory at the Lockhart Street Bowl. The Warriors capped the big plays with the longest pass play one will ever see in a high school game or in any other football game for that matter.
Down 6-0 to start the second half, the Redskins returned the kickoff to Canton's 44-yard line and looked to be in business to possibly tie the game. However, Ben Knapp and Nick May shared a sack on Corbin Brown to force a punt.
Taking over on their 28, Timmy Ward gained two yards on a run before quarterback Uriah Baillie dropped back and hit Levi Gaiotti for a 70-yard strike for a quick 12-0 lead.
Cage Carnrike returned the kickoff to Canton's 46-yard line, but the Redskins failed to move the ball and punted, leaving the Warriors to start their possession on the their own nine.
No reason to panic.
Ward took the handoff and raced up the middle of the field for 91 yards and a score for a 18-0 lead.
Sayre's Connor Habst returned the kickoff to Canton's 48. This time, added by a roughing the passer call, the Redskins reached the Warriors' 35 before punting and leaving Canton on the three to start their next possession. After a holding penalty, the Warriors had the ball on the one.
No reason to panic.
Baillie dropped back into his own end zone and tossed a bomb to Gaiotti for a 99-yard touchdown. On the conversion, Michael Smithers took over at quarterback and hit Ben Knapp and the Warriors lead 26-0.
Midway through the fourth, the Canton defense stopped the Redskins on their own three and forced a 14-yard punt from Sayre. After an illegal block, the Warriors faced first-and 25 at the 32-yard line.
With Smithers and Ballie switching back and forth at quarterback, Smithers connected with Knapp for 10 yards. Two plays later, Ballie hit Knapp for 21 yards. The Warriors then went to Timmy Ward, who leaped up and over the pile for the score.
The Redskins had a glimmer of hope to avoid the shutout. After Harbst hit Austin Arnett for a five-yard gain, Harbst dropped back and fired a 61-yard touchdown to Dominik Mazzarese. A holding penalty negated the play. On the next play, Harbst had Mazzarese open again, but Gaiotti intercepted the pass, preserving the shutout.
The lone first half score came with 5:38 left in the second quarter — long before all the fireworks. Smithers hit Ward for a 26-yard completion. Ward then carried for five yards and Smithers carried tacklers for another 10 yards. Baillie capped the drive on an eight-yard run, dancing through the Redskins' defense.
Canton's big-play offense produced big-play stats. Ballie finished the game going 4 of 5 for 198 yards and two touchdown passes. He added 18 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Gaiotti finished with two receptions for 169 yards — both going for scores — and had an interception on defense.
Ward carried the ball 11 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns while nabbing five passes for 40 yards and pulling down an interception. Smithers ran the ball 12 times for 110 yards and passed for 66 yards.
Isaiah Firestine led Sayre with nine carries for 66 yards. Most of those yards came on a single series before the half when Firestine had four carries for 43 yards, reaching Canton's 21 before Ward intercepted a Brown pass to end the drive.
The Redskins travel to play Columbia Montour Vo-Tech next Saturday while the Warriors play the Wildcats in Athens on Friday.