Bulldogs Cage the Tigers on Senior Night
By Patrick Labelle
Early starts were the theme of the night on Friday, November 4th, when the Bulldogs faced off against, and defeated, the Oliver Ames Tigers at Memorial Field.
The game started with pregame festivities for Senior night in which players accompanied by parents, grandparents, aunts, and/or uncles walked through a line of underclassmen players and cheerleaders for the final time on their home turf.
Senior Dan Dillon touched on the emotion of the night saying “It was indescribable, walking out with my parents for one last time on our home turf meant a lot to me as well as all the Seniors, we really wanted to go out with a win”
Once Canton won the toss and deferred to the second half it was time for the defense to set the tone. On the very first play from scrimmage Oliver Ames rolled out to pass. The ball sailed high and Junior cornerback Tony Harris intercepted the ball. However in an unimaginable turn of events Harris fumbled the return giving the ball back to the Tigers. After the game Harris said that by the time he realized he wasn't holding the ball in close enough “there was already a pileup on the ground”. However the play was big for Harris and the team’s confidence saying “It was at that point where we knew we had an upper hand on that team, it was going to be hard for them to score on us”
The wild play did not end up costing the Bulldogs as they forced a 3 and out to get their first shot at the Oliver Ames defense.
Canton had no trouble moving the ball from the get go. Yet early on they were faced with a fourth down from about midfield. Alec Ragusa got the call on a halfback toss and followed his blocks to get the first down and then some. Just a few plays later and it was Ragusa again finding the end zone on a five yard run right up the gut giving Canton a 7-0 lead.
The second possession of the game had more of the same. After an Oliver Ames punt, Canton started driving again, This time the key play coming from Dennis Ross with a 20 yard qb keeper but once again being capped off by a Ragusa 4 yard touchdown his second of the night.
The momentum of a 14-0 lead didn't leave the Bulldogs satisfied as OA’s offensive woes continued with Tony Harris getting his second pick on the night; this time holding onto it giving the Bulldogs great field position at the OA 35 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Joe Mulkay got to the edge of the defense and ran all the way home for a 34 yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 21-0
OA did score on the next drive to make it 21-8, but Canton just as they had all night, responded pounding the ball down the field and resulted in yet another touchdown for Alec Ragusa capping off a fantastic night and giving the Bulldogs a 28-8 lead. Ragusa said that one of the keys to the big day was knowing it was the Senior players last chance to walk onto the field with their families saying “It definitely gave the team and I deeper motivation to win the game”
Just when things seemed as though they couldn't get any better for the Bulldogs, it did with perhaps the play of the year from an offensive perspective. Dan Dillon threw a ball up to Tony Harris who leaped over an Oliver Ames player, ripped the ball from his hands, spun past the safety, and ran all the way in for a 69 yard touchdown catch and made an already improbable comeback simply implausible. “Coach (Bohane) told me we were probably going to run the play” said Harris, adding that when it was called and he saw a player on OA coming to make a play he “wasn't letting go” of the football.
The second half was highlighted by a dazzling touchdown run by quarterback Dan Dillon and the Bulldog defense giving up just 8 points despite many of the players in the starting unit being taken out of the game.
With the big win Canton improves to 3-6 on the year while Oliver Ames falls to 2-7. Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip down to the Panthers of Plymouth South (3-5) on November 10th at 7:00 (game moved to Thursday due to Veterans day) before heading off to bitter rival Stoughton (6-3) for a Thanksgiving day showdown.