Canadian Takes District 1-2A Championship
Updated: November 2, 2015
photo: Michael Kerrigan
#1 Canadian Rocks Panhandle 56-7, Takes District 1-2A Championship
PANHANDLE, TX – The Panhandle Panthers hosted the #1 ranked defending State Champion Canadian Wildcats Friday night in a match-up that proved to be what it looked like on paper; a very difficult task for Panhandle to come away with a win in this District 1-2A game. Even though Canadian led 49-0 by halftime in what would be yet another mismatch for Canadian, the halftime performances by the Panhandle and Canadian bands were first class and full of sportsmanship in the music world. Panhandle’s band has qualified for State competition, but Canadian’s band was eliminated in the Regional finals. During and after the performance of Panhandle’s band, Canadian band members unfurled a banner that read “GOOD LUCK AT STATE” to the Panhandle band performing and the parents and fans in Panhandle’s home bleachers. As UIL administrators might say, it doesn’t get any better than that.
This particular night will be remembered for quite some time as the “big night Cameron had” by many Canadian Wildcat fans. WR/DB Cameron Copley took full advantage of every error he could capitalize on that the Panthers would give him on either side of the ball, scoring three TDs via pass receptions and another TD on a pick-six INT from his DB position on the Wildcat defense. Copley opened up the first half of Canadian’s scoring on an 18 yard TD reception from QB Tanner Schafer (19- 21-0 for 300 yards, 5 TDs). RB Chance Cook reeled in the next Schafer pass from 25 yards out ending the scoring in the first quarter. But the tidal wave of Canadian points hit shore in the second quarter with five TDs. RB Chance Cook stepped into the end zone untouched from the 3 yard line, WR/DB Copley returned an INT 22 yards, WR Manny Ramsey received an 8 yard TD pass from Schafer, and WR Copley burned the Panhandle defense two more times before the half with TD passes from Schafer. Copley’s last two reception TDs were a 24 yarder and a 58 yard sprint down the visitors sideline outrunning every available Panhandle Panther after catching Schafer’s fast ball on the quick out reception.
Canadian’s defense is still healing up a couple of injured starters, but has continued to perform with the same efficiency seen all season. This 1-2A District game would see them hold Panhandle to 93 total yards compared to the 439 total yards the Wildcat offense tallied. Canadian ended the offensive onslaught in the third quarter after RB Chance Cook broke through on a dive play by the Wildcat “Jumbo package” opening up the Panther defense just enough to allow Cook’s quick burst of speed to go 35 yards almost before anyone knew what had happened. The Wildcat’s kicker Benigno Heredia was good on all 8 PATs for the night.
With 6:08 left in the fourth quarter, Panhandle saved being shutout with a six play 51 yard drive after recovering a Canadian fumble. RB Colby Neeley broke free on a 30 yard run that set up the Panthers on Canadian’s one yard line. The next play, QB Lathan Lamberson scored on a keeper and the PAT by kicker Jay Barnett was good. This District 1-2A win by Canadian sealed the deal to be the outright District Champions of District 1-2A again. Next week, the Wildcats will host a struggling Boys Ranch team in their final home game at Wildcat Stadium in Canadian. Although it would appear futile for the Rough Riders to hope for a win, Canadian will go back to work and prepare for BR as they do every game, every week, not taking any opponents for granted.
The eyes of Texas Class 2ADI football are always on the Canadian program and it would seem any sports writer or commentator that counts has predicted their return to the State Title game at NRG Stadium in Houston to defend last year’s Championship. If those predictions hold true, all of those eyes have a lot more Wildcat football to watch this season, which has proven to be quite entertaining with the probable exception of opposing teams and fans.
By Jerry Brunson, Canadian Wildcats Correspondent, @CHSWildcatNews