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RED ZONE BLUES: Chiefs nearly cap remarkable rally against Novi

 RED ZONE BLUES: Chiefs nearly cap remarkable rally against Novi

Canton’s Devon Pettus strolls into the end zone to cut the Chiefs’ deficit to 21-7 Friday night at Northville.

The team with no mascot, no nickname and (at least temporarily) no home field came close to securing a classic comeback Friday night against Novi.

Trailing 21-0 9 seconds into the second quarter, super-resilient Canton stormed back to within 21-14 and had the ball on the Wildcats’ 1-yard line mid-way through the fourth quarter before a holding penalty stunted the drive, resulting in a 28-14 setback.

Playing their third consecutive road game to start the season, the Chiefs slipped to 2-1 (1-1) in the KLAA West Division while Novi improved to 2-1 (2-0).

The game originally scheduled to be hosted by Canton was played at Northville High School since the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park’s two football stadiums have been closed due to issues created by torrential rain on Aug. 24.

Home, sweet home

The Chiefs’ home field will reportedly be ready for its next home game scheduled for Sept. 22 against Plymouth, but — given the mountain of adversity they’ve already faced this season — the red-and-white road warriors probably aren’t going to hold their breath.

A large and vocal Canton student cheering section made the trek to Northville
A large and vocal Canton student cheering section made the trek to Northville

Playing with a cast wrapped in a huge red oven mitt-like covering on his broken left hand, senior running back Devon Pettus was a workhorse for Canton, carrying the ball 26 times for 84 yards and a 4-yard touchdown.

The Chiefs’ No. 1 star was senior Caleb Williams, who hauled in eight Devvin Calhoun passes for 133 yards and a TD.

Williams’ touchdown was spectacular as he snared a 15-yard crossing-pattern aerial near the Novi 30, stiff-armed two would-be tacklers and outraced four others down the sidelines to pull the Chiefs to within 21-14 with 46 seconds remaining in the first half.

Defense stepped up

Canton blanked the Wildcats from the time Logan Ellison scored on a 3-yard run with 11:51 to go in the opening half until 70 seconds remained in the game when quarterback Caleb Walker scored on a 3-yard keeper.

Novi quarterback Caleb Walker cocks his arm for a pass
Novi quarterback Caleb Walker cocks his arm for a pass

Although standing just 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-7, respectively, Ellison and fellow running back Lance Gailliard proved elusive for the Chiefs as they combined for several back-breaking drive-extending runs.

Ellison finished the night with 19 carries for 146 yards while Gailliard 76 yards on 14 hauls.

Walker: accurate and slippery

Both quarterbacks were efficient. Walker, who completed his first 10 passes, threw for 181 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown to Keegan Litkewycz.

Andrew Kummer caught three balls for 36 yards.

Calhoun found his receivers 12 times (out of 21 attempts) for 162 yards.

Canton senior two-way lineman Adham Hashem was a force on both sides of the ball, putting pressure on the slippery Walker for a good portion of the second half before ultimately registering a key sack late in the game.

Chief senior Nathan Levine recovered a muffed punt on the Wildcat 10-yard line with 9:27 left, but Canton’s potential game-tying opportunity was stymied by the holding penalty.

Canton reached the red zone three other times without capitalizing with points.

Novi’s Johnny Aurilia and Brendan Lynch both snagged interceptions. Lynch’s pick was huge as he caught a Calhoun pass that deflected off a lineman’s helmet at the Wildcat 14 in the third quarter.

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

Novi senior Johnny Aurilia upends a Canton punt returner Friday night
Novi senior Johnny Aurilia upends a Canton punt returner Friday night

 

 

 

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Ed Wright

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