WOODBURY >> Because the Canton High football took care of business last Saturday against Nonnewaug, the Warriors still have an opportunity to take another step toward a possible league championship banner.
It would have been very tempting to focus on Saturday’s big game with Gilbert/Northwestern at 1 p.m. in Canton. The game will give the winner command of the race to capture the first Pequot Conference Western Division title.
Since Canton resurrected its varsity football program in 2007, they haven’t been close to being in contention for a league championship.
It’s been over 50 years since a Warrior football team had a legitimate shot to win a league championship. In 1958, Canton won the North Central Football League title with a perfect 5-0 season that included a 18-6 win over Gilbert in the season-opening contest.
Without a victory over Nonnewaug, this week’s game with the Yellowjackets would have been just another game. But it won’t be.
Canton scored on six of its first seven possessions and had a total of 478 yards of offense in a 42-6 victory over Nonnewaug. Dan Delos ran for a game-high 115 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries to lead Canton.
It was the second straight game that Delos has run for three TDs. Cam Daley had 12 tackles and an interception against the Chiefs.
Canton QB Eric Scott completed 9-of-11 passes for a career-high 195 yards and a 29-yard touchdown pass to Sebastian Gumbs. Terrance Brophy ran for 83 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. Gumbs caught five passes for a career-high 151 yards and a touchdown pass.
Canton improves to 4-1 on the year and 3-0 in the Pequot West. Gilbert/Northwestern is 4-1 and 2-0 in the league and looms as big challenge for Canton. After this game, the Warriors will have league games remaining against winless Lewis Mills (0-5) and Granby (2-3) on Thanksgiving morning.
Gilbert/Northwestern is led by the dynamic senior duo of quarterback John Lippincott and running back Tony Ortiz.
Lippincott has completed 38-of-97 passes for 716 yards and eight touchdowns while also running for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Ortiz is a quick back, who has run for 794 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also pulled in nine receptions for 146 yards and two TDs.
The Yellowjackets are averaging 260 yards a game rushing and 157 yards passing. They’ve scored 25 touchdowns in five games.
Gilbert/NWR is also seeking to end a long championship drought. Even though the Yellowjackets have put together four straight winning seasons and qualified for the Class M playoffs in 2010, they haven’t won a league championship since 1975 when they captured the Northwest Conference title. It was the end of an era that saw Gilbert win five NWC titles in eight years.
Since 1975, Gilbert has come close to winning a league title twice.
Gilbert was a contender for the Pequot Sassacus title in 1993 but dropped a 27-12 decision to undefeated Putnam to finish second. In 1990, Gilbert could have earned a share of the Pequot Conference title with a win over rival Housatonic on Thanksgiving but dropped a 25-0 decision to finish second.
Gilbert’s co-op program with Northwestern began in 2002.
NOTES: Canton’s sophomore kicker Ed Melton set a new school record in the win over Nonnewaug with six successful PATs in a game, breaking the old mark of four set by Jeff Nasson against Housatonic/Wamogo in 2009 and tied earlier this year by Melton against Housatonic/Wamogo.
Scott’s 195 yards is No. 3 on the school record list for most yards passing in a single game. Nick Delvecchio passed for 212 yards in a win over Housatonic/Wamogo in 2007. Gumbs’ 151 yards receiving is also No. 3 on the single game record list. Christian Plourd had 162 yards receiving on six receptions against Valley Regional/Old Lyme in 2007.
Canton 42, Nonnewaug 6
Canton (4-1) 7 21 14 0 — 42
Nonnewaug (1-4) 0 6 0 0 — 6
C: Terrence Brophy 5 run (Ed Melton kick), 4:19
C: Dan Delos 4 run (Melton kick), 10:48
N: Jon Gombos 1 run (kick failed), 6:43
C: Sebastian Gumbs 7 run (Melton kick), 3:40
C: Gumbs 29 pass from Eric Scott (Melton kick), 0:44
C: Delos 29 run (Melton kick), 10:33
C: Delos 13 run (Melton kick)