Canton Stays Unbeaten in District With 35-13 Victory Over Brownsboro
CANTON -- The Canton Eagles used a powerful rushing attack to thwart the Brownsboro Bears, 35-13, at Birdwell Stadium on Friday, setting up a showdown with the Van Vandals for the District 15-3A title next Friday.
The Eagles (8-1, 4-0) rushed for 361 total yards, led by senior tailback Reece Sumner's 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Sumner's first touchdown came at 6:57 in the first quarter when he took a dive 1 yard for the score, completing a 6-play drive and giving Canton the early 7-0 lead.
His last touchdown came with 1:14 remaining in the contest, a 50-yard jaunt, clinching the victory for Canton on Senior Night.
Canton's defense wreaked havoc in the Brownsboro backfield all night. The Eagles forced four turnovers (three INTs, one fumble), while adding five pass break-ups, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior linebacker Dakota Hesskew had two interceptions for the Eagles, while adding 97 yards on the ground for the offense.
"Our kids have worked since last January to play for a district championship," Canton coach Robert Ivey said. "We're excited about that for our kids, and for the school. Our play was a little sloppy, but we made the plays when we had to. I think we got a good game from Brownsboro. Overall, we're happy with the win. Tonight, we are going to enjoy it and come back tomorrow ready to work for Van."
Brownsboro (5-4, 2-2) quickly answered Canton's first score, going 52 yards on eight plays, when running back Johntae Walker punched it in from 2 yards out, tying the score at 7-7. Walker, the lone bright spot on the Bears' offense, totaled 105 yards rushing and a score.
After trading turnovers with Brownsboro, Canton took its first possession of the second quarter 63 yards on six plays. Sophomore quarterback Chandler Eiland hit wide receiver and older sibling Connor Eiland with a 15-yard touchdown strike at the 7:06 mark, giving the Eagles 14-7 advantage. Chandler, finished with 236 total yards and two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing). Connor added 71 yards receiving on six grabs and a touchdown.
Canton had four possessions inside the red zone without coming away with points. Two interceptions and two turnovers-on-downs, keeping Brownsboro close throughout. But the Eagles defense kept the visiting Bears from putting together any sort of momentum.
Canton went 67 yards on its second drive of the second half when back-up quarterback Kade Warren connected with wideout Colton Williams for a 21-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown at 4:24 in the third quarter, pushing the Eagles lead to 21-7.
The Eagles and Chandler Eiland weren't finished in the fourth when he scored on a 6-yard touchdown scamper, widening the gap to 28-7 and putting Brownsboro away for good. The Eagles dominated time of possession in the second half, especially in the third quarter. Brownsboro had the ball for only 2:23 of the third quarter, physically wearing down the Bears defense.
"You always want to have a little momentum, but ultimately winning this game wouldn't have guaranteed us anything," Brownsboro coach Ty Thomison said. "It's going to come down to Athens next week. Now we have to go to work. We need three good days of preparation. The good news is we still have a chance to be in the playoffs, and that's what everybody fights for."
Brownsboro got a late score when back-up quarterback Jared Bragdon hit speedster Davonte Givens on a 19-yard touchdown pass, closing the gap to 28-13 with 3:05 remaining. But Canton recovered the onside kick, sealing the victory. Bragdon finished 8 of 15 for 85 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception.
"We held a Brownsboro team averaging almost 40 points per game to 13 points," Ivey said. "We've played really good defense the last three weeks. We're excited about that moving forward."
District 15-3A concludes next Friday when Brownsboro hosts Athens with third-place and the last playoff spot on the line.