CANTON — South Central did a good job of taking away star quarterback Landon Everett, and outside of a 75-yard touchdown run, the Timberwolves did the same to standout wide receiver Tyson Struber.
But the top-ranked Canton-Galva Eagles have playmakers outside of Everett and Struber. On Friday night against undefeated South Central, Kinser Colgin and Brayden Collins stepped up.
Collins rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns while Colgin caught five passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Timberwolves 42-16 in a battle of 10-0 teams.
“Collins has been our workhorse all year, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” Canton-Galva head coach Shelby Hoppes said. “Kinser is our defensive guy. He gets us lined up. When Tyson went down, he’s the one who stepped up.”
The game was much closer than the score would indicate, but from the 4:38 mark of the third quarter on, it was all Canton-Galva.
Down 16-8, Canton-Galva was marching down the field and appeared to score a touchdown. Struber nearly reached the goal line, but fumbled at the last moment and South Central recovered.
Two plays later, holding was called on South Central in the end zone resulting in a safety. Canton-Galva scored the game’s final 34 points, starting with the two points from the safety.
The game began with Everett finding Colgin for a 25-yard touchdown with 8:03 left in the first. It took less than two minutes before South Central tied the game up thanks to a two-yard touchdown run from Chayde Snyder.
Snyder found Landon Uhl from 20 yards out early in the second quarter to put South Central up 16-8.
The game’s entire momentum swung in favor of Canton-Galva after the safety. Collins rushed for an eight-yard run to put the Eagles back on top. Colgin countered with an interception on defense, followed by a 22-yard receiving touchdown on offense.
After South Central pinned Canton-Galva deep on a punt, Struber took a handoff 75 yards untouched for a touchdown. Collins had the game’s final two scores - a 37-yard run and a 25-yard run.
The Eagles scored 32 points in the fourth quarter.
Hoppes is nearly finished with his third full season at Canton-Galva. He said this was the best win he’s experienced with the Eagles so far.
“That team right there, if they’re not the second or third best team in the state, I don’t know who would be,” Hoppes said about South Central. “The final score does not represent the game at all. They hit us and we hit them. It was just a great high school football game.”
Struber played in his first game since breaking his hand on Oct. 11 against Goessel. Due to a cast on his hand, he likely will not be a threat catching the ball, but his 75-yard rushing touchdown, 9.5 tackles, and one interception proves he can still be a difference maker deep in the playoffs.
“We didn’t know if we’d get him the ball at all on offense,” Hoppes said about Struber. “Where we missed him the most was defensively. We knew getting him back on defense would be big for us tonight. He’s a special talent.”
After handing South Central its first loss, the Eagles are rewarded with a trip to undefeated Madison in the state semifinals. Canton-Galva reached the 8-Man Division I Semifinals last season, but lost to Solomon.
Game time at Madison is to be determined.
“Madison has three or four guys who will be the best players we’ve seen this year,” Hoppes said. “I told the team to enjoy the win tonight, and tomorrow it’s on to Madison.”