Watertown 41, Canton 14

In Canton on John Oliver Field on Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Canton Golden Bears showed a ton of grit as the boys endured not only a lack of numbers, but also the two pronged senior attack by the Watertown Cyclones Deonte Hall and Joel Davis. Davis is a very large, 6’4″ quarterback who was held in check by the Bears secondary, limiting his passing attempts to fifteen yards on one reception. When Davis dropped back to pass and began to scramble however, it was a much different story as he rushed for over 100 yards on the day. A majority of the damage to the Bears defense occurred by the Cyclone’s Deonte Hall, the three year starting running back, as he rushed for 171 yards on 19 carries.

Rhett Palmer carries behind the blocking of David Zuhlsdorf on Saturday.

The Bears, playing “Iron Man” football with only 13 eligible varsity athletes and a number of JV call-ups battled to a 8-6 lead early in the second quarter. Scoring for Canton occurred when fullback Erich Zuhlsdorf pounded his way into the end zone following a 64 yard, 10 play drive by the Bears. Zach VanBrocklin rushed for the two point conversion.

Erich Zuhlsdorf breaks the plane with the first of two touchdowns on the day for the Bears.

The second touchdown on the day occurred with quarterback David Zuhlsdorf pitched the ball to brother Erich. The ball never truly landed in his hands and as he juggled it a few times, he was able to spin off would be tacklers, finally grabbing control of the ball and twist his way into the end zone from the 10 yards line.

The score at this point would find Canton down 20-14 and that would be the closest they would come to Class A Watertown. The under-manned Bears saw a couple of key injuries mid-way through the third quarter and other boys simply run out of gas. First year Varsity Head Coach Corey Maxner was quoted by Cap Carey of the Watertown Times as saying, ““We battled! We practiced all week with 13 guys and then we lost two (Friday). We had to roll with a lot of JV kids and they had to cancel their JV game for Monday because we had to play them today. I’m proud of how the kids battled. We got a lot of injuries today, because every guy is going both ways. The battling caught up to us in the second half and (Watertown) has some phenomenal athletes.”

James Bailey #77 seals the edge for #30 Zach VanBrocklin.

Other notable performers included Canton’s Rhett Palmer, who public address announcer Mike Wentworth refers to as the “Swiss Army Knife”. Palmer was steady for the Bears on both offense and defense, returning kick offs and handling punting and kicking duties. The undersized offensive line for the Bears also needs some credit; including Mason Markel, Elias Snyder, James Bailey, Justin Weegar, Carter Shatraw and Kaygen Peters. These trench players left everything on the field Saturday. Notable defensive efforts were highlighted by Lane Rayburn and sophomore Caleb Murcray with many unassisted tackles on the day.

The Bears travel to Malone next Saturday with a 1:30 kick-off time.

Photos courtesy of Jay Berkman.

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