CANTON - When used appropriately, a rushing attack can dictate the tempo of the game, control the clock, and wear an opponent's defense down. Canton's run game accomplished all three of those goals Friday night, as the Warriors plowed through Athens, winning 34-10 for their first victory over the Wildcats this century.
It all started up front for Canton, as its offensive line displayed a dominating performance in the trenches. Like bulldozers, the Warriors' front five blasted open gaping rushing lanes, helping Canton amass 225 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
"There were stretches in the first half where we were being shut down and we didn't think we should be," Canton's head coach Jay Perry said. "So we made some adjustments in the second half and the kids really responded. We could open up holes, and had a lot of success running right and left."
Nobody benefited more from the great play of Canton's line than their starting quarterback John Bowman, who proved to be more than just a good passer, as he accumulated 160 rushing yards with three touchdowns on just 16 carries.
"John is a good athlete and he is our best open-field runner," Perry said. "Even though he throws the ball he is still a really good rusher."
Bowman's biggest play of the game came on his first carry from scrimmage, when he sprung a 65-yard scurry up the right sideline. Two plays later Bowman utilized his blazing speed and quick reactions to elude defenders once again, scoring the game's first touchdown on a 26-yard quarterback keeper.
From that moment on, the Warriors appeared to hold all of the game's momentum.
Canton was helped by a great performance from its defensive unit too, allowing just 190 yards of total offense to the Wildcats.
That battle was also won in the trenches, as the Warriors created a lot of pressure up front, preventing Athens from establishing a consistent pass game, and allowing them to complete just 10 of their 26 passes, while forcing two sacks.
"Defensively we are in and out of a lot of different things, so it's hard for a team to settle in on us," Perry said. "We like to change things up quite a bit, and I think that you could see that tonight, because they had a hard time adjusting to us."
With the win, Canton moves to 3-4 on the season. They hope to inch closer to the .500 mark when they face Cowanesque Valley next week.