GRANBY >> Led by running back Dominic Pagano, who recorded 141-yards on the ground and three touchdowns, the Bears defeated the Canton Warriors 21-19 to capture the Selectman’s Trophy.
“This is the best win in program history,” said Granby head coach Rich Gadoury, who was soaked after his team gave him a celebratory Gatorade shower after the win. “For a sophomore (Pagano) to put the team on his back, it’s a testament to the future of Granby football.”
In his stellar performance, Pagano surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the season and the three rushing touchdowns marked a career high.
“I had to do whatever it took to win this game,” said Pagano. “My line got great push and opened up amazing holes. I love my line.”
The Granby Bears finish the season 6-5, which is the best record in the program’s short four-year history.
“I am so proud of my boys,” Gadoury said. “They were able to prove they are the best team in school history.”
Leading the way for the Bears since the program’s inception was senior quarterback Curt Field.
“One goal was to finish over .500 this season,” Field said. “There is no better way to go out.”
The Warriors got on the board early and controlled the game early on, taking a 13-0 lead late in the second quarter. Cam Daley scored from 13-yards out and Eric Scott hit Jake Wood for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Granby took over on offense with the half winding down and Field led the Bears right down the field to set up Pagano’s first touchdown run as time expired to cut the deficit to 13-7 going into the half.
“That was big,” said Field. “We knew we had to weather the Canton storm early.”
The Bears got the ball first in the beginning of the half and again went right down the field, this time Pagano rumbled in from 9-yards out. Matthew Holmes then hit his second extra point of the game, giving the Bears a one point lead, 14-13.
The lead wouldn’t last long as the Warriors responded only a few minutes later when Daley scored his second touchdown of the game, from three-yards out. Canton attempted to go for two to extend its lead by seven, but it failed and they would lead 19-14.
After both teams swapped possession, Pagano found the end zone for the third time on an 11-yard run giving the Bears the lead for good 21-19.
On the Warriors next possession, Pagano intercepted Scott.
“Granby certainly outplayed us, we’re going to have to deal with it,” said Canton head coach, Paul Philippon. “We weren’t really balanced, and we didn’t have any stops on defense.”
Though its season finished with a loss, Philippon is happy with his team’s season.
“I told them that this doesn’t erase what they accomplished this season,” said Philippon.
After starting the season 0-3 the Bears rallied to finish the season 6-2.
“I told these boys to take it one game at a time,” said Gadoury. “We knew we were better than our record showed.”
Granby now leads the series 2-1 over Canton.
Granby 21 Canton 19
At Granby High School
Granby 0 7 7 7 – 21
Canton 7 6 6 0 – 19
C – Cam Daley 13-yard run (Edward Melton kick good)
C – Eric Scott 25-yard pass to Jake Wood (kick no good)
G – Dominic Pagano 4-yard run (Matthew Holmes kick good)
G – Dominic Pagano 9-yard run (Holmes kick good)
C – Cam Daley 3-yard run (two-point no good)
G – Dominic Pagano 11-yard run (Holmes kick good)
Passing Stats: G – Curt Field 7 for 18, 72-yards, 1 interception. C – Eric Scott 5 for 14, 89-yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception.
Rushing Stats: G – Dominic Pagano 15 for 141-yards, 3 touchdowns; Gage Fiorentino 7 for 29-yards; Connor Field 2 for 3-yards. C – Terrance Brophy 24 for 84-yards; Cam Daley 9 for 63-yards, 2 touchdowns; Jacob Hunter 5 for 21-yards; Sebastian Gumbs 2 for 14-yards; Eric Scott 3 for 5-yards.
Receiving: G – Connor Field 4 catches for 45-yards; Ian Downey 1 catches for 13-yards; Dominic Pagano 1 catch for 10-yards; Gage Fiorentino 1 catch for 4-yards. C – Cam Daley 2 catches for 38-yards; Sebastian Gumbs two catches for 26-yards; Jake Wood 1 catch for 25-yards, 1 touchdown.
Records: Granby 6-5, Canton 7-4