CANTON - Canton honored its six senior football players Saturday. Only two wore football pads and only three had played at all this season. And Canton only dressed 18 players.
A few minutes later, Montgomery's 18 players took the field and that was the most it had since Week 3. No two teams have dealt with the kind of adversity Canton and Montgomery have this season. Canton lost eight players to season-ending injuries while Montgomery had 13 players quit last Aug. 23.
Both teams, though, have provided clinics in determination and perseverance. Canton played an excellent all-around game in its home finale and defeated Montgomery, 49-27. Mont-gomery received milestone performances from Matthew Boone and Colton Harer and was outstanding in the second half, so both teams felt victorious.
"We have come together and we had to fight through a lot of injuries and struggles but we knew we could do it," said Canton running back/linebacker Wes Moore, who scored twice and totaled 131 yards. "It's showed us all about being a team player and sticking together and not giving up and that is going to benefit us in life."
Moore and Eddie Larcom were the only seniors dressed. Canton (3-6) has played most of the season without four two-way returning starters but won its second straight and has scored 83 points the last two weeks.
"Even through all the injuries we've had, all the guys have stuck together," said Larcom, who scored twice and intercepted a pass. "That shows a lot and says a lot about us."
Montgomery (0-9) played a brilliant second half, making a furious comeback. It symbolized everything this team represents. Most of the 13 players who quit were returning starters and the team features mostly underclassmen, first-time starters and first-time players.
And they never quit. Harer had one of the best receiving games in Montgomery history, catching 11 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Boone became just the sixth player in Montgomery history to top 1,000 yards, throwing for a career-high 283.
"We gave them a little butt chewing in the locker room and they came out and played the best half of football they've played all year," Montgomery coach Randy Boone said. "It was a completely different attitude. When you have a young group you don't know how they're going to respond and whether they're going to come out with their heads down or whether they're going to come to play and these guys proved they are every bit the men I thought they were."
Canton was a force in the first half, scoring on its final six possessions while stopping Montgomery inside its 35-yard line four times. Quarterback John Bowman (167 yards) threw a career-high three touchdowns to Chase Pepper, Moore and Larcom. Pepper made a terrific 32-yard catch with a defender draped on him, Moore turned a screen pass into a 50-yard touchdown and Larcom caught an 80-yard strike that made it 27-0.
Tim Bassett ran for 100 yards and a touchdown and Bowman's 9-yard touchdown run made it 42-0 late in the second quarter. The Warriors gained a season-high 467 yards, including 382 in the first half.
"These are the games that make it all worth while," Larcom said. "It was exciting."
"We push hard at every practice and just keep going," Moore said. "It was fun and the line was awesome. They made big holes all day. The last two weeks we've had two big wins and two big yardage games and I think we have a lot of momentum."
So does Montgomery.
The Raiders reached a season-high in points and gained a season-high 382 yards. They also scored 21 fourth-quarter points. Boone ran for two touchdowns and threw two more. He now has over 1,200 yards and led Montgomery in rushing, too, gaining a career-high 83 yards. The sophomore totaled 377 yards.
"There's nobody that works harder on and off the field. He goes to camps all year long and took a lot of heat. Whether it's my son or someone else's, I wouldn't want them to have to go through what he did," Randy Boone said. "He's definitely very deserving and he couldn't do it if it wasn't for the receivers, the offensive line and I can't say enough about the whole team."
Harer is having the best year by a receiver in Montgomery history. The senior scored on 53 and 74-yard plays. He finished with 376 total yards.
Montgomery0 0 6 21-27
Canton14 28 7 0-49
C-Wes Moore 2 run (Brian Jannone kick), 7:19
C-Chase Pepper 32 pass from John Bowman (Jannone kick), 1:48
C-Moore 50 pass from Bowman (Jannone kick), 10:21
C-Tim Bassett 5 run (kick failed), 4:48
C-Eddie Larcom 80 pass from Bowman (Larcom run), 3:07
C-Bowman 9 run (Jannone kick), 1:55
M-Matthew Boone 15 run (run failed), 2:56
C-Larcom 38 run (Jannone kick), 1:20
M-Colton Harer 53 pass from Boone (kick blocked), 11:18
M-Boone 17 run (Kyle Becher run), 6:34
M-Harer 74 pass from Boone (Corey Kriner kick), 2:02
TEAM STATISTICSM C
First downs12 19
Passing Yards294 167
RUSHING: Montgomery, Matthew Boone 12-83, 2 TDs; Kyle Becher 6-5. Canton, Tim Bassett 13-100, TD; Eddie Larcom 3-73, TD; Wes Moore 10-73, TD; John Bowman 2-16; Chase Pepper 2-13; Trevor Route 5-13; Theron Binford 2-10; Bryce Cole 2-5; Team 1-(-3).
PASSING: Montgomery, Boone 13-26-1, 2 TDs, 283 yards; Colton Harer 1-1-0, 11 yards. Canton, Bowman 6-9-0, 3 TDs, 167 yards.
RECEIVING: Montgomery, Harer 11-266, 2 TDs; Corey Kriner 2-17; Boone 1-11. Canton, Moore 3-58, TD; Larcom 1-80, TD; Pepper 1-32, TD; Route 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Canton, Larcom.
RECORDS: Canton 3-6. Montgomery 0-9.