CANTON—In a game that many thought could be a high scoring, last team in the end zone win kind of night, turned out to be nothing like that as the Canton-Galva High School football team took an early advantage in their game on Friday against the staunch Burlingame Bearcats and never looked back as they rolled to a decisive 74-26 victory.
Winning the regional competition of the state playoffs marked the first Eagle win at this level since 2001 while also giving them their ninth straight win on the season. Canton-Galva will now take their 9-1 record on the road next Friday to Coldwater to play Coldwater-South Central who is also 9-1 and beat Central Burden 48-0 on Friday.
After the Bearcats gave up a safety on a bad snap to their punter early in the first quarter, Canton-Galva took the kick and marched down to the 15-yard line before Landon Everett connected with Kinser Colgin for a touchdown. When Burlingame got the ball back, senior quarterback Montana Giffin connected with senior Trevin Lewis for a 46-yard scoring pass to pull the Bearcats within two at 8-6.
Then the game changed as the Eagles drove the ball down to within the five-yard line with 4:45 left in the first quarter, and on a run up the middle by Canton-Galva a member of the Bearcats went down with an apparent knee injury. It was their all-state contending nose guard and vocal leader of the team, Keller Snesrud.
As Burlingame head coach Jeff Slater said after the game, “The game seemed to become mentally different for some of our guys after Keller went down with his injury. He has been our team’s vocal leader and without him in there the game seemed to snowball in a hurry in Canton-Galva’s advantage.”
Everett scored shortly after Snesrud left the game and the Eagles added two more first quarter scores on an Everett pass to Tyson Struber and a Brayden Collins interception return. Despite Burlingame scoring a late touchdown, the Eagles finished the first quarter with an already commanding 28-26 advantage.
While Giffin completed another scoring pass to Trevin Lewis in the second quarter for the Bearcats, Everett added scoring runs of 44 and three yards to give the host team a whopping 44-20 lead going into the halftime break.
After the Eagles added another score on an Everett pass to Colgin at the 7:31 mark of the third quarter, the Bearcats tried to make one more comeback when their school’s career rushing leader Seth Greenwood broke loose for a 50 yard scoring scamper, it was just too little to late as Canton-Galva intercepted a couple of Bearcat passes and added three more scoring runs by Everett to put the game away with 1:53 left in the third quarter at 74-26.
“I am so proud of our boys,” noted Eagles head coach Shelby Hoppes. “We challenged them this week to play a more physical game against a very good and strong Bearcat team, and they did.”
As a team, Canton-Galva ran up 454 yards in offense compared to just 230 for Burlingame, including a huge 310 to 92-yard advantage in rushing. While it seemed like the Eagles threw the ball more than normal, they still ran it 50 times compared to just 13 passes. Burlingame hurt themselves over and over as they threw four interceptions and were penalized nine times for a minus 60 yards.
Everett only had to throw the ball 13 times but was able to complete eight of them for 144 yards and three scores for the Eagles, with Kinser Colgin scoring on both his receptions, while Tyson Struber hauled in five passes for 72 yards and one score.
Where Everett did the most damage was on the ground, where he rambled for 204 yards on 26 carries while scoring six times, Brayden Collins kept the Bearcats defense on their toes by running for 79 yards on 17 carries.
For the Bearcats, Seth Greenwood finished the night with 83 yards on 17 carries, while quarterback Montana Giffin only completed 12 of 24 passes for 138 yards, two scores but those four interceptions. While Lucas Masters had six receptions for 50 yards, Trevin Lewis scored twice on his two receptions for 67 yards.
“While our defense did not totally shut down the Bearcats big plays, we kept their big plays very limited tonight,” added Hoppes. “On offense we knew we had to run the ball and we were able to, even though early in the game we did throw more than normal after we saw on film that we might have some mismatches with their defensive backs.”
Slater stated, “This Canton-Galva team very much reminds of our 2015 team when we began our three-year run to the state semifinals. They were hungry, played physical and were hard to stop when they got going while having a huge home field crowd to cheer them on. I said going into the game that discipline would be the difference and it was, we made too many mistakes with being offsides on defense or moving too early on offense while the Eagles played a very disciplined game.”
Slater concluded his post-game comments by saying, “I want to congratulate my seniors, even though the season ended the way it did they were a great bunch of kids to coach and the foursome of Seth (Greenwood), Montana (Giffin), Lucas (Masters) and Keller (Snesrud) won 41 games in their Bearcat career,”
Referencing their run game, Hoppes finished his coach reflections by adding, “It was unfortunate to see their big kid, Snesrud, go down hurt, but that probably did help some in our getting the running game going like we did. Now we travel to Coldwater to battle with another one-loss strong team.”
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