CANTON — The Gouverneur football team enjoyed another dominant win Friday, beating Canton 40-6 in a Northern Athletic Conference game.
But Wildcats coach Sean Devlin reminded his team afterward that they need to play with more enthusiasm and energy after the Wildcats (4-0 overall, 3-0 division) appeared to cruise in the first half.
“The first half we were slow and sluggish,” Devlin said. “Last week (a 21-14 win over Massena) it happened, too. We scored quick and I just think you slow down. Only one game have we started fast and stayed fast. In the Hudson Falls game we played really, really well. I think that’s the only game we’ve played, really, really well so far.”
Gouverneur started strongly, scoring on the second play of the game when Vinny Thomas pulled in a sideline pass from Holden Stowell and raced past some Canton defenders, going 62 yards for a touchdown.
“We didn’t come out strong, but we started to pick up the energy after halftime,” Thomas said. “I was open and I just ran the ball.”
The Wildcats scored quickly again on their second possession on a 43-yard pass from Stowell to Gunner Simmons, to make it 13-0.
But after those two quick scores the Wildcats stalled on offense for a bit.
The next time Gouverneur got the ball it went to Canton’s 15 before failing to convert a 4th-down play.
Then Canton (1-4, 1-3) went on a long drive of its own, but it stalled on downs on the Gouverneur 29.
Vinny Thomas snapped Gouverneur’s brief scoreless drought with a 40-yard run to make it 20-0 with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the first half.
While Devlin was not happy with how his team played in the first half, he told the players after the game he liked what he saw after that.
“In the second half we were much better,” Devlin said. “Our energy was better. We just have to keep working on that. No matter how far up or down you are you can always build on things.”
Gouverneur scored again on its first offensive series, with Vinny Thomas running 42 yards for his third touchdown of the game.
Thomas gained 97 yards rushing on seven carries, caught two passes for 68 yards to finished with a team-leading 165 all-purpose yards.
The next score for the Wildcats was set up by a defensive play from lineman Alex Ordway, who hit a Canton runner, forcing the ball to pop up into the air. Ordway snagged the ball and took off running, gaining 30 yards to set up another touchdown.
“I had too much adrenaline and I couldn’t get going,” Ordway said. “I think if I hadn’t had so much adrenaline it might have been a touchdown. It was very exciting, pretty much a lineman’s dream. I had someone on my back the whole time.”
After Ordway’s big return the Wildcats upped the lead to 33-0 when Raine Rumble took a direct snap and ran 29 yards for a touchdown. In addition to his touchdown run, Rumble also added four extra-point kicks for the Wildcats.
“I got one (play) in at quarterback and it was just good blocking,” Rumble said. “I got through and it was wide-open from there. It’s amazing, the best feeling in the game. We are getting better every day with practice, practice, practice.”
Stowell scored the final touchdown for Gouverneur, rushing 20 yards on a quarterback keeper early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 40-0.
Canton, which was playing with the minimum required number of 16 players, scored with 4:55 left on a 3-yard run from Brandon O’Shea.
The Golden Bears were coached by athletic director Bill Porter, who is the head coach of the junior varsity team. Head coach Corey Maxner has been suspended by the school district after being charged with driving while intoxicated last weekend.
Before the game Porter said he would not comment on the Maxner situation.
Erich Zuhlsdorf led the Golden Bears with 75 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also caught two passes for 51 yards.