In a game that featured several momentum shifts, the Canton High School football team got the last laugh Friday night against Oliver Ames for the second straight year.
It took overtime this time to get it done, but Shane Nordgren’s 3-yard touchdown run in the extra period gave the Bulldogs their second victory of the season in a 36-30 triumph over the Tigers, who have dropped four straight after starting the season at 5-1.
The win was a vindication for second year head coach Dave Bohane in a year where he’s seen his team drop in heartbreaking fashion to the two top teams in the Davenport Division: Sharon and Foxboro
“Any of the small [Hockomock League] teams you can beat is an accomplishment,” said Bohane, whose team is now 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the Davenport. “We lost to Sharon in overtime, we lost by four points to Foxboro and we played a classic game with Oliver Ames. I think we are all so equal and if you can beat any of those teams, you had a great night.”
It didn’t take long for Canton to start the initial surge in this wild, but exciting contest.
Just 1:19 into the contest, Canton was already ahead 14-0. The first score came on the Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage when Dexter Green (9 carries, 134 yards) swept by the OA defense for a 90-yard touchdown run to give his team an 8-0 lead following the two-point conversion. Two plays after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Elias Camacho (176 all-purpose yards) scored his first of two touchdown runs to give his team the two-score lead.
“We came out and every play we called we looked like we were going to get positive yardage,” Bohane said. “Offensively speaking we had a good night. We just did enough things to win and our backfield of Camacho, Green and Nordgren had a great night for us.”
Although the Tigers fell behind early, they too showed some resiliency and eventually found themselves with the lead in the fourth quarter.
A big part of OA’s comeback effort was the play of Nick Cidado (16-of-22 passing, 197 yards, 2 touchdowns; 14 carries, 56 yards, 1 touchdown) and St. Clair Ryan (15 carries, 83 yards).
“We couldn’t have had a worse start than we did,” said Oliver Ames coach Jim Artz, whose team is still winless in Davenport play.
“We jumped out slowly but we bounced back and made it game. Nick Cidado and St. Clair Ryan played a heck of a game, but from top to bottom all the boys gave everything they had and I’m extremely proud of them.”
On the first offensive series, Cidado orchestrated a 12-play 60-yard drive that took more than five minutes. The series was capped off by a Joey Tepper touchdown run from two yards and a Cameron Williamson reception for the two-point conversion.
After giving up a 50-yard touchdown run from Camacho on the next possession, OA had another nice drive and Cidado pulled his team within six at 22-16 on a 15-yard quarterback keeper just six seconds into the second quarter.
Eventually, OA seemed to have everything clicking its way and earned a 30-22 lead in the fourth quarter thanks to two touchdown receptions from Greg Cummings. But, after Canton tied things up at 30-30 on Flaven’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Derek Harris – and Camacho’s two-point conversion – the Tigers found themselves back at square one.
“They were really coming up big and stopping our running game,” Bohane said about the fourth quarter events. “We were able to get that huge play on play-action to Derek Harris and that was a huge play and it was what we needed to get back into it.”
Despite having several chances to re-take the lead, OA could not convert on a 4th down and 5 situation midway through the fourth quarter. Minutes later, Cummings had a 35-yard field goal attempt blocked by Canton’s special teams with 11 seconds left to force overtime.
On its only offensive series in overtime, Cummings tried to connect with Cidado on a trick play. Cidado, however, could not recover from a tipped pass, which ultimately set up Nordgren’s heroics.
“I thought when we got the lead at 30-22 that it was going to be ours for the taking,” Artz said. “On a crucial fourth down we decided to go for it and didn’t get it. And we gave them a short field to get back into the game and tie things up.”
Both OA and Canton will have a week off before its Thanksgiving Day matchups against Sharon and Stoughton, respectively.