In Canton on a warm Monday afternoon, Canton 14, Gouverneur 14
The Golden Bears Junior Varsity Football team began their season on the road in Gouverneur in early September. Needless to say that experience was unforgettable for the Bears for all of the wrong reasons. The Cats blanked the visiting Bears on that date by a score of 42-0. Two months later, a lot of work and a great amount of improvement and the young Bears gave Gouverneur everything they could manage in the rematch.
In the first quarter, both teams flexed their strong defense as neither team would find the end zone. Sophomore Marcus Anton recovered a fumble by the Wildcats which gave the Bears the ball back…..and with good field position. The boys up front including, Ian Thrasher, Gabe Haenel, Donovan Anton, and Parker Hurlbut found themselves in the Wildcat backfield creating many problems for their offense.
The second quarter proved to be another defensive battle as both teams struggled to move the ball. With three minutes left in the second quarter, the Bears possessed the ball on the Wildcat 35 yard line. Quarterback Daniel O’Neill, looking a little like the Bills Josh Allen, called his own number and hammered the hard nosed run up the middle for a much needed 10 yard gain and a Golden Bears first down. On the next play from scrimmage, Hayden Towle legged out a very strong run to the outside, which put the Bears on the Wildcat 5-yard line. From there Mathew Bradish- Hayes, fought through tackles and found the end zone. Touchdown Bears! Bradish- Hayes would also secure the two-point conversion. Bears up 8-0 going into halftime.
Out of halftime, Bradish-Hayes broke three tackles and sprinted 65-yards for paydirt! Bears up 14-0 on the Wildcats. The Golden Bears defense would take over, keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone for rest of the quarter. Key stops were made by John Gidney, Owen Kenna, Towle, Bradish-Hayes, Aiden Richardson as well as, Owen Clifford.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats found themselves in the red zone of the Bears. The situation was 4th down and approximately 8 yards for the first down. The Gouverneur QB made a series of run fakes and then hurled the pass into the end zone breaking the shut out hopes held by the Bears. Score was now 14-8 Bears. The Bears defense would regroup and hold the Wildcats for most of the fourth quarter. With 53 seconds left in the fourth, the Wildcats scored again, desperately hurling the ball into the open hands of the Cats running back….. 14-14 all tied up.
The play of the game occurred next when the Bears came up with a huge stop on the Wildcats two-point conversion attempt, thereby securing the tie versus the defeat. A definite achievement for the young Bears against a very talented Gouverneur team! The Final Score on John Oliver Football field 14-14 tie.
Sophomore Captain Aiden Richardson and the Golden Bears coaching staff shared their thoughts following the game.
Aiden Richardson: “Our defense was outstanding this game; our offense could have been better. I think that it was a great season, and I couldn’t ask for a better team and coaching staff. With this long offseason, i think that we will get ready for a great season next year.”
Coach Kenna: “Our defense was stout all game, we had a couple of break downs in coverage which cost us. Our defensive group wouldn’t stop though, even facing adversity. I am proud of the boys who left their gas tanks empty out on that field. It makes me proud to be apart of the Canton Bears Family.”
Coach Fenlong: “It was great to see the boys play together and fight for the entire game. I am very proud of this group of guys, and I am looking forward to next season.”
Coach Dobbs: “The guys played great today, I couldn’t be more proud of the progress they have made this season. A wise man once told me ‘Work everyday to get a little bit better’, these boys did that this entire season. Everyday they worked to be better than the day before and it showed. We had fun this season and I want to thank our Golden Bears Families for their continued love and support. I already can’t wait for next season.”
Coach Porter: “It is great to see the culmination of a season long process and the positive growth which has occurred with these young men. We asked the guys to believe in the value of that process versus solely focusing the outcome and they bought in. Too many people today only consider the outcome and not what is learned from the process. For example, the benefits of earning playing time versus having it given, when not deserved. Winning versus losing. Beating a team which has lesser talent or ability and believing that this is what defines success. Losing a game yet being strong enough to maintain ones’ composure and do what is right, even though it may be difficult. Beginning a season with very low self-esteem and finishing with a ton of enthusiasm and confidence. These boys have learned a lot this season and I am proud of them for that. Playing football isn’t easy. I am grateful to all of our coaches. Gold Chain Award to Coach Rico Dobbs for filling in the role of head coach, being a positive role model for these young men and for generating a lot of enthusiasm with football!”
Photos below courtesy of Amy Hunt