Canton Passes Test, Holds Off Visiting Sharon

Canton football
Canton celebrates Vincent O’Brien’s (9) first quarter touchdown that put the Bulldogs into an early lead against visiting Sharon. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – With leading rusher Cam Sanchez sidelined with an injury and facing a short week ahead of Thursday night’s visit from Sharon at WWII Veterans Memorial Field, Canton was searching for different ways of getting into the end zone.

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For the first time this season, the Bulldogs found success in the passing game. Canton threw a pair of first half touchdowns, including one on a halfback pass by Jack Albert, and leaned on its defense during a scoreless second half to pull out a 17-6 win over the Eagles that moves the Bulldogs back to .500 on the season.

“We’re trying to find ways to replace Cam Sanchez, and it’s a difficult thing to do when you have someone that dynamic,” admitted Canton coach Anthony Fallon. “The guys are finding their way into different positions. Sometimes you give up some yards and then you can buckle down when you figure it out.”

Canton had good field position to start its opening drive and took advantage, going 59 yards in 10 plays to jump in front. The Bulldogs had good balance, with Colin Albert (15 carries, 59 yards), Jack Albert (nine carries, 65 yards), and quarterback Robert Botelho all getting positive yards on the ground.

After a false start on fourth and two back the Bulldogs up to the Sharon 33, Botelho (7-for-13, 77 yards) rolled out to his left and hit Vincent O’Brien in stride down the near sideline for the touchdown. It was Botelho’s first career touchdown pass.

The Bulldogs would started their third possession from their own 42 and again made the good field position count for points. Botelho found Jack Albert for a 23-yard gain down to the Eagles 26. Bahsor Mahn gained six on third and five down to the 15-yard-line, but the drive stalled there. Will Keefe made sure Canton didn’t leave empty-handed, kicking a 33-yard field goal.

Sharon needed a spark and found some life offensively on the ensuing possession. Kiran Chandrasekaran (11-for-20, 174 yards and 14 carries for 55 yards) rushed for 29 yards on a keeper to get the ball into Canton territory. On first down from the 20, Chandrasekaran fired a strike on the far sideline to PJ McManus. The extra point was blocked, but the Eagles cut the lead to 10-6.

It was Canton’s turn to answer and the Bulldogs needed only three plays to get back in front by double digits. Andrew Butler’s kickoff return out to the 44-yard-line set up the drive. Jack Albert took a toss for 11 yards to the left. Butler went around the right side for 13. Fallon called for a little trickery, as Albert took the toss to the left, pulled up, and lofted a perfect pass to Butler for a 32-yard score.

“A little jet pass from Mr. Albert,” said Fallon. “We ran that in practice and this afternoon I think he was all geared up and wanted to run it and we thought it was good time to do it. Senior night, you want the win but you also want them smiling and having fun and that was part of the fun tonight.”

The visitors had more than two minutes left in the half and tried for an instant response. A 40-yard pass to Owen Conway got them into Canton territory and a personal foul call added 15 more yards down to the 19. Carson Campbell made a big play to drop Ike Ogbannanze for a five-yard loss, on third down Ryan Richards sacked Chandrasekaran, and the Bulldogs forced a turnover on downs.

“Kiran had a great game,” said Sharon coach Dave Morse. “He helps us with both the run and the pass. The receivers did a great job with a couple of big catches. We’re moving it but then we’ve got to finish it off. It’s been the story of the last couple of years and the next three weeks we’ve got to figure out how to finish.”

Late in the third quarter, Canton went for it on fourth and three at the Sharon 41, but Albert was stripped of the ball and Jack Murphy jumped on the fumble for the Eagles. Nico Marrero picked up nine yards to convert a third and five and Chandrasekaran hit Ogbannanze for 13 on a fourth and six.

Sharon got as far as the Canton 24 but a Campbell sack on fourth down put an end to the drive.

“We really killed ourselves with penalties and field position, so that was the difficult part of moving the ball in the second half,” Fallon explained. “They had couple of sustained rives where we didn’t lock it down until they got deep into our territory.”

After a three-and-out by the Bulldogs, Sharon was on the move again. Chandrasekaran and McManus (four catches, 53 yards) combined for 24 to the Bulldogs 40 and then Conway made a grab down to the 27. A holding call backed the Eagles up but gains of seven, six, and eight yards brought up fourth and one from the 18. Chandrasekaran’s keeper was stuffed for a loss of one.

Penalties were an issue for the Bulldogs throughout the second half and a holding call pushed Canton back to its own eight. On third and 17, Butler came up with a huge play that effectively sealed the win, He took a sweep to the right, cut inside and broke a 22-yard run for a critical first down.

“He did a great job there,” Fallon said of Butler’s run. “He hit the seam really nice and covered up the ball when he had contact too.”

Morse added, “We had some guys up front, all did a great job and the linebackers were getting more aggressive. Defensively, I think we saw the progression we wanted. A couple mistakes and they bit us for it but I was very, very happy with the effort to the football.”

Canton (2-2) will host King Philip in a divisional crossover game next Friday afternoon. Sharon (0-4) will step outside the Hock and travel to Blue Hills.

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Foxboro Bounces Back With Shutout of Canton

Foxboro Football
Foxboro senior Luis Sulham returned a first quarter punt for a touchdown, helping the Warriors to a 37-0 victory against Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Coming off its first loss of the season (to league-leading Stoughton), Foxboro was looking for a reaction when it hosted Canton on Friday night at Sam Berns Community Field. Thanks to a dominant defense and big plays on special teams, the Warriors answered the challenge and got right back on track.

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Foxboro picked off a pair of passes, allowed only three first downs in the first half, scored on a punt return, and kicked three field goals, beating Canton 37-0 to stay within one game of the Black Knights (and North Attleboro, which plays on Saturday) in the Davenport division.

“I can’t say enough about the kids tonight,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “They did a great job in a game they had to win. I always told them that I don’t judge them after a loss or a win, it’s when you get knocked down can you come back like they did tonight. That’s the true test of character.”

It was always going to be a tough road trip for the Bulldogs, but the task got considerably tougher when leading rusher Cam Sanchez was injured on the opening possession and didn’t return.

“Cam can go at any time and we didn’t have ability to have that weapon for us this week. We’ll find out if he’s healthy or not,” said Canton coach Anthony Fallon. Martinelli added, “Would’ve been a different kind of game. [Sanchez is] a home run hitter.”

Canton’s defense was looking tough to beat in the first quarter too, Jack Albert had a pair of sacks on Foxboro’s second possession, but the Warriors took advantage of a turnover to grab the lead. Dylan Gordon intercepted a Robert Botelho pass and returned it down to the Canton 13. Two plays later, Gordon took a counter 10 yards into the end zone. The conversion was no good after a bad snap, but the Warriors were up 6-0.

The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their next possession. Luis Sulham stepped up to receive the punt at his own 46 and weaved his way through the Canton cover team, reversing field twice on his way to the end zone. Gordon was able to punch in the conversion and Foxboro led 14-0 after one.

After another three-and-out, the Foxboro offense finally clicked into gear a little but Sulham was ruled to have lost the ball just before he was able to stretch it across the line for another score. He would step up on Canton’s next punt, again coming up with a big return to give Foxboro the ball at the Bulldogs 11.

“You either have it or you don’t,” Martinelli said about the speed he has on the roster. “You can coach quickness but you can’t coach speed and we have some speed.”

Although Foxboro went nowhere, sophomore Sam Carpenter came in and drilled a 27-yard field goal to make it 17-0. A Trent Rennie sack ended Canton’s next possession and then Rashaad Way returned the punt 50 yards to get it back down to the 24. Again, the Warriors went nowhere, but Carpenter split the uprights from 40 yards.

“I have all the confidence in that kid,” said Martinelli. “Thank god for the double season,” he added, referencing Carpenter’s ability to play soccer and football this year. “He wanted to give it a try and we watched two kicks and just kind of said you’re in. I was looking at the list and said, who’s Sam Carpenter? Well, now I know who he is.”

Carpenter was a difference maker for the Warriors. Foxboro started the second half with the ball and, after a 38-yard pass from Cam Prescott (6-of-15, 98 yards) to Way moved the Warriors into the red zone. Instead of leaving without points, Carpenter stepped up again and nailed one from 31 yards.

The Bulldogs were seeking answers on the offensive end. Colin Albert took over from Sanchez as the primary running back and finished with 100 yards on 17 carries, continuing to fight for extra yards even as the Warriors started to pull away.

“Colin did a great job filling in, running the inside zone,” said Fallon. “Colin’s a tough kid going both ways and grinding it out like that, especially against a good team like that who’s going to hit you on every play.”

Trying to make something happen, Canton called for a halfback pass but Tom Sharkey stepped in the way of Andrew Butler’s throw. On the first play of the drive, Prescott hit Sharkey for 30 yards down to the Canton four. On the next play, Mike Norvish burst up the middle for the touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Foxboro added one more score. Tom Marcucella took over at quarterback and broke a 23-yard run on third down. He had his pass to the end zone picked off by Vincent O’Brien, but a roughing the passer call negated the turnover and moved Foxboro to the 10. Four carries later Steven Petrillo was able to find a little seam on the right side of the line for a one-yard score.

“It killed us,” Fallon said about the struggles on special teams. “Our coverage was lacking tonight for sure and we’ll have to see if we can sharpen that up. Short turnaround, so we’ll put a game plan together and turn around and play on Thursday.”

Foxboro (2-1) will be on the road next week to face Oliver Ames. Canton (1-2) will have a short week to prepare for a home game against Sharon.

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Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 06/03/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Lacrosse
D1 South

#9 Marshfield, 8 @ #8 King Philip, 6 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

D2 South
#14 Southeastern, 0 @ #3 Canton, 16 – FinalFreshman Sean Connolly made his first career start in net and made four saves as the Bulldogs blanked Southeastern in each team’s playoff opener. Jeff Fitzpatrick set the tone for the hosts, dominating at the face off X. Nine players found the back of the net in the win for Canton including freshman Colin Albert (first career goal) and junior John Stubbs.

Girls Lacrosse
D1 East

#15 North Attleboro, 1 @ #2 Franklin, 20 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

#14 Mansfield, 5 @ #3 Concord-Carlisle, 20 – Final

Boys Tennis
D1 South

#18 Diman, 0 @ #15 Taunton, 5 – FinalTaunton swept Diman for their first playoff win in over two decades as both doubles team won without dropping a game. The team of Ryan Hebert and Trevor Hart (first doubles), the duo of Tyler Hoddard and Barrett Hodgson (second doubles), and Dylan Kullas (third singles) each won 6-0, 6-0. Brett Beaulieu pulled out a 6-0, 6-1 win at first singles and Charlie Fiske earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory at second singles.

D2 South
#10 Foxboro, 2 @ #7 Dartmouth, 3 – Final

Girls Tennis
D1 South

#12 Silver Lake, 1 @ #5 King Philip, 4 – Final

#17 Natick, 4 @ #16 Mansfield, 1 – Final

Boys Volleyball
Central

#3 King Philip, 0 vs. #6 Natick, 3 – Final