Oct 08, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Throughout September, the Canastota football had the look of a playoff team — balanced and explosive on offense, tough and determined on defense.
And that same look was expected Saturday when the 4-1 Raiders met 5-0 Hannibal with first place in the Class C West division at stake.
Instead, opportunity was turned into complete disaster.
Four first-half turnovers were all converted into points, and the Warriors delighted its Homecoming crowd by tearing Canastota apart in the course of a 54-7 decision that might have ruined the Raiders’ post-season hopes.
Much of that margin was built early. By the middle of the second quarter, Hannibal already enjoyed a 40-0 lead, and the only reason it wasn’t worse was because Canastota prevented the Warriors from two-point conversions four different times.
Basically, the Raiders never recovered from the first play from scrimmage. Going for a big early moment, Canastota tried a halfback option pass, and the receiver was open — but the ball floated, defensive back Doug Morgan recovered to make the interception at midfield, and the rout was on.
Moments later, Eric Sherman rumbled 45 yards on a sweep to set up Morgan’s one-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing kickoff, Canastota fumbled, Hannibal recovered — and Morgan found Barry Alton on a nine-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.
Morgan wasn’t done yet. On Hannibal’s next possession, he capped it with a 14-yard TD pass to Dustin Elles, then followed it up with a second interception, returning it 29 yards to set up Sherman going 22 yards for yet another score.
On the first play of the second quarter, Canastota continued to crumble, as Kody Parkhurst was sacked and fumbled the ball, the Raiders’ fourth turnover. Sherman turned it into points with his four-yard run, and Morgan ran five yards for another TD later in the period.
Not until the fourth quarter, with Hannibal’s starters on the bench, did the Raiders get on the board, on Dan Campanaro’s own four-yard TD run.
Sherman finished with 140 yards on just 12 carries, as he and every Hannibal skill player benefited from a big, experienced offensive line that pushed Canastota around.
As it stands right now, the Raiders would not make the playoffs. Hannibal and Tully are first and second, respectively, in the Class C West standings, and Canastota (4-2, 3-2) is in fourth place, a half-game behind Bishop Ludden.
Even if the Raiders were to beat Cato-Meridian Friday night, the Raiders could only tie Ludden (whose league schedule is done) for third place, and Ludden owns the tiebreaker to get the possible wild-card bid because it beat Canastota 36-33 in the season opener on Sept. 1.
However, Hannibal could help the Raiders’ post-season cause if it beats Tully this Saturday. A loss by the Black Knights, combined with a Canastota win over Cato, would force a three-way tie for second between Canastota, Tully and Ludden, and a tiebreaker would be needed to get two of the teams into the playoffs.