CANTON >> It had not been the most productive first half for the Canton High football team last Saturday against visiting Hyde-New Haven.
The Warriors had managed just 73 yards rushing but thanks to 81 yards of passing from quarterback Eric Scott and a key fumble recovery by Dan Delos, Canton had a one-point lead.
But the Howling Wolves didn’t give the Warriors much room in the second half, limiting Canton to just one first down and 25 yards of offense. And Hyde finally wore down the Warriors, scoring a touchdown with 6:38 let in the game to earn a 20-13 Pequot Conference victory.
It was the third straight win for Hyde after they were shutout by 34 points on opening day by Valley Regional/Old Lyme. Canton (2-1) lost its first game of the season.
“Our kids showed a lot of character and courage to grind out this victory today,” Hyde coach Melvin Wells said. “We made plays when they had to be made.”
On its first three possessions of the second half, Canton managed just one first down. Yet, when Hyde took over with 8:33 remaining in the game, Canton still held a tenuous one-point lead, 13-12.
On third down and six near midfield, junior wide receiver Ronnie Freeman took the ball and swept around the right side. He evaded a tackle in the backfield, picked up a block from teammate Beandon Brantle and sped into open space and down the sideline for a 36-yard gain to the Canton 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Freeman again got to the outside, faked out a Canton defender and sailed 13 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 6:38 left in the game.
“We knew they were quicker than we were and that it would be a challenge to wrap them up (and tackle them),” Canton coach Paul Philippon said. “There were times we had two or three tacklers on the ballcarrier and still they slipped away. We didn’t wrap up or take down the ball carrier.”
Hyde rambled or 317 yards on the ground, led by quarterback Dwayne Hunter-Parker, who ran for a game-high 120 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Brantle ran for 97 yards on 14 carries while Freeman picked up 72 yards including the two big plays on the game-winning drive.
“Every week this team gets a little better,” Wells said. “We made the big plays when the big plays had to be made.”
With the lead, the Howling Wolves defense made a play. On Canton’s next possession, Quyten Brown got good position and leaped to intercept Scott with 5:46 left in the game.
Hyde ate up nearly four minutes before missing a 33-yard field goal attempt with 1:52 remaining in the contest. When Canton got the ball again, Scott threw two incomplete passes before one of his passes intended for Cam Daley bounced high in the air off the shoulder pads of Hyde defender Carlton Tillery and into the arms of Howling Wolves teammate Jaquaine Manley with 1:32 left to ice the contest.
“Our kids worked hard and the effort was good,” Philippon said. “But we got outplayed.”
Canton’s first two drives were their most successful. The Warriors marched to the Hyde 19-yard line on its first possession on the strength of runs from Dan Delos (6 carries, 41 yards) before the drive stalled. Delos had a 13-yard gain on the first play of the game.
On its second drive, Scott (6-of-17, 87 yards, 2 interceptions) completed a 19-yard pass to Jake Wood to the Hyde 46-yard line. After a 13-yard run by Delos, Scott completed a 31-yard pass to Sebby Gumbs down the right sideline to the two-yard line. Delos scored to give Canton a 7-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
“Our first drive looked like what we had hoped to go,” Philippon said. “Give credit to (Hyde). It turned out that we couldn’t run as we hoped to.”
Thanks to the scrambling and running ability of Hunter-Parker, Hyde marched 66 yards on seven plays to cut the lead to one, 7-6, on a 16-yard run by Hunter-Parker. The extra point attempt was wide.
On its next possession, Hyde marked 63 yards on 14 plays with Hunter-Parker helping Hyde convert on a key third down conversion to keep the drive alive. On third and seven from the Canton 34, he scrambled 14 yards for the first down. Hunter-Parker scored from the one-yard line with 2:53 remaining. The conversion run failed and Hyde led, 12-7.
With 38 seconds left in the first half, Delos ripped the ball out of the hands of Hunter-Parker to give the Warriors the ball on the Hyde 19-yard line. Scott completed a 14-yard pass to Gumbs to the four-yard line. With no time left on the clock, Brophy scored from the three to give Canton a 13-12 halftime lead.
The Warriors have a challenging game on Friday night at Coventry against the co-op team that includes personnel from Windham Tech and Bolton. Canton travels to Nonnewaug on Oct. 19 before returning home for a big game against Gilbert/Northwestern for the Pequot West Division lead on Oct. 26, at home, at 1 p.m.
NOTES: CPTV Sports taped the game and it will be broadcast on the cable sports channel on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. CPTV Sports is available on Comcast cable channel 966 and digitally over the air on Channel 24.3 (Hartord). It is not yet available on AT&T U-verse. … It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. … Hyde is the smallest school in the state that offers varsity football. … Hyde had two punts in the second half that were downed inside the 10-yard line. A 53-yard punt by Cameron Howe was downed on the Canton 1-yard line with 5:40 left in the third period while a 35-yard punt was downed on the Canton 5-yard line with 10:41 remaining in the game.
Hyde 20, Canton 13
Hyde (3-1) 0 12 0 8 – -20
Canton (2-1) 7 6 0 0 — 13
C: Terrance Brophy 2 run (Eddie Melton kick), 0:55 Second quarter
H: Dwayne Hunter Parker 16 run (kick wide), 10:04
H: Hunter Parker 1 run (run fails), 2:53
C: Brophy 3 run (kick fails), 0:00
H: Ronnie Freeman 13 run (Hunter Parker run), 6:38 Individual statistics
RUSHING: Hyde – Dwayne Hunter Parker 21-120, Juanito Ortiz, Jr., 3-7, Quyten Brown 2-4, Beandon Brantle 14-97, Ronnie Freeman 5-72, Corey Johnson 4-17; Canton – Eric Scott 3-7, Terrance Brophy 14-32, Sebastian Gumbs 1-1, Cam Daley 2-5, Dan Delos 7-43, Keith Wilson 1-3
PASSING: Hyde – Hunter Parker 1-6-0, 6; Canton – Eric Scott 6-17-2, 87
RECEIVING: Hyde – Carlton Tillery 1-6, Canton – Jake Wood 1-19, Sebastian Gumbs 3-53, Cam Daley 1-9, Keith Wilson 1-6
RETURNS: Kickoffs – Daley (C) 1-17, Gumbs (C) 1-19, Matt Bangs (C) 1-10, Delos 1-9; Isiah Parkes (H) 1-24, Brown (H) 1-17; Punts – Hunter Parker (H) 2-16 FUMBLE RECOVERY: Delos (C); SACKS: Henry Bonini and Mike Amoroso (C) 1-4; INTERCEPTIONS: Brown (H) 1-0, Jaquaine Manley (H) 1-5