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GIDDY UP: High-flying Mustangs soar past Canton, 50-19

 GIDDY UP: High-flying Mustangs soar past Canton, 50-19

Colin Charles hurdles a Canton player during a first-quarter run Friday night.

On “Youth Night” at Northville’s Tom Holzer Field, the hosts had about as much fun as a bunch of kids let out of geometry class for a two-and-a-half-hour recess.

During a 50-19 rout of visiting Canton, the Mustangs made Odell Beckham Jr.-esque one-handed grabs, recovered a surprise first-quarter onside kick, let a kicker run in a fake extra point (it got nullified, but it was fun while it lasted) — and even handed the ball to a running back wearing the number 68.

The Mustangs’ student cheering section even got into the act when they chanted across the field — good-naturedly, of course — “Who’s Your Mascot?” in reference to Canton High School being stripped of their “Chiefs” nickname and arrowhead logo by the school district’s board of education.

Scorching start

The giddiest moment of the night for the winners, however, was when the fourth-quarter clock struck 0:00 and they were the owners of a 4-0 record (3-0 in the KLAA West Division) — super-impressive given Northville’s early-season gauntlet of a schedule that included Clarkston, Brighton and a traditionally strong Canton team.

Northville linebacker Evan Deak got a firm grasp of the leg of Devon Pettus
Northville linebacker Evan Deak got a firm grasp of the leg of Devon Pettus

“Outside of a few things in the second half, it was a complete performance,” said first-year Northville Head Coach Brent Luplow.

“We scored on our first five drives, so we got out of the gate fast. We had a lot of guys catch the ball and carry the rock, which was nice.

Earning respect

“We’ve been talking about earning our respect. We got off to a good start at the University of Michigan against Clarkston, we took care of Brighton and we beat a team like Canton, which has been a power for the past 20 years.

“It’s a testament to our kids. We want to be a traditional power and we’re off to a really good start — although we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’re still taking it one week at a time.”

Northville junior Kaden Kuban collides with Canton senior Caleb Williams
Northville junior Kaden Kuban collides with Canton senior Caleb Williams

Northville was never threatened after it constructed a 27-0 first-quarter lead.

The most spectacular individual effort unfolded in the first quarter when Northville senior tight end Caden Besco stretched out inside Canton’s 5-yard line to secure a one-handed grab of an Isaac Pace pass.

Great grab

Besco landed at the 2-yard line, setting up a Mustang touchdown.

“Isaac and I have been playing together probably since we were in first grade, so we have that connection,” Besco said.

“We knew the backside corner of their defense would be open. He threw it up there really well and I probably made the catch look a little harder than it should have been. I’m just glad I caught it and we scored the next play.”

Besco said the Mustangs’ promising start is extra satisfying for him and his teammates — and the victory over Canton was special for him as well.

“It seems like people have thought of Northville as the school with the small kids who weren’t real tough,” said Besco. “I think we’ve proven over the first four weeks that we can hang with anybody, especially in the KLAA.

“This win was special for me, too, because my cousin (Theisen Besco) plays for Canton, so we had a little fun family thing going on.”

Stats surprisingly close

The teams’ total offensive output was surprising close — Northville outgained Canton 396-348 — given the final score.

Canton senior Caleb Williams made this sensational over the shoulder catch
Canton senior Caleb Williams made this sensational over the shoulder catch

Canton showed a lot of spunk in the second half behind the play of back-up quarterback Alex Guadagni, who led them on three scoring drives.

Chief senior running back Devon Pettus is almost as difficult to tackle as Jerome Bettis. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound steamroller rushed 28 times for 119 tough yards while Guadagni threw for 196 yards and two TDs (one each to Zyaire Martin and Nick Parrish).

Canton senior receiver Caleb Williams caught four balls for 81 yards, including an incredible 31-yard over-the-shoulder snag.

Pace was magnificent, completing 16 of 20 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns.

Evan almighty

Evan Deak and Nick Helner were each the recipients of two Pace scoring spirals while Colin Charles secured one.

Playing without their first- and second-string running backs, the Mustangs still managed to grind out 127 yards (led by Kaden Kuban’s 48 yards on six carries).

Northville ballhawks Deak and Will Clauson both notched interceptions.

Owen Ross and Besco tied for the lead in tackles with seven each while Deak, Cooper Hoffman and Graham Gilmartin recorded six a piece.

In addition to playing defense for the Mustangs, Sonny Rentz was a weapon all night with his leg, repeatedly booming kickoffs through or near the end zone, while punting twice for 90 yards.

Luplow said he has been overwhelmed — although not surprised — by the support the Northville community has given his team.

“It’s been great,” he said. “The student section was filled tonight 30 minutes before kick-off. The stands were packed, which is the way it should be in a one-school community like this.

“The school year is off to a good start, too. When you’re winning, people look forward to the weekend and coming out and supporting their team on Friday nights.”

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Northville backup quarterback Michael Cygan eyes the end zone
Northville backup quarterback Michael Cygan eyes the end zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ed Wright

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