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Canadian Shuts-out Wellington 38-0

photo: Michael Kerrigan

CANADIAN, TX – The Wildcats of Canadian made the case for which team would be third seed from District 1-2A in the playoffs this season, but it certainly wasn’t a stroll in the park to get it done as #1 Canadian hosted the #17 Wellington Skyrockets Friday. Wellington’s defensive pressure held Canadian’s fast paced no-huddle offense to the least points scored since the regular season opener against 4A Bushland. However, the Skyrockets suffered a 38-0 shut out by the Wildcat defense, despite persevering through injuries of some key defensive players, demonstrating the value of a deep bench.

Canadian’s offense lined up against an unexpected six man defensive front, designed specifically to create havoc with the protection and timing of All-State QB Tanner Schafer. This strategy was successful several times causing only the second INT of Schafer’s season, a forced fumble lost, along with several sacks and hurry-ups.

Even with all of the chaos that the well-coached and tenacious Skyrocket defensive line caused in the 1st half, Schafer and his “Air Canada” offensive crew were still able to pass for 2 TDs, an 11 yard score received by WR Cameron Copley and a 25 yard TD catch by WR Sawyer Cook. Add to that a 72 yard rushing TD by standout RB Chance Cook and a 39 yard field goal by kicker Benigno Heredia (5 for 5 PATs, 8 points total) and the Wildcats owned a 24-0 lead going in at the break. To Wellington’s credit, those were the hardest earned 24 points of Canadian’s season to date.

The Skyrocket offense provided its own brand of excitement with WR/DB D.J. McKnight’s performance. As advertised, McKnight’s speed and pass route running ability was a threat on every Wellington snap. However, the long yardage pass receptions by McKnight were curtailed this night by Canadian WR/DB Cameron Copley and other Wildcat DBs. But a few well designed blocking schemes used him as a scatback for good gainers; one exciting play handing off McKnight the ball went 60 plus yards all the way inside the Canadian 5 yard line which was unfortunately called back due to a penalty.

In the second half, QB Tanner Schafer saw more of the same unforgiving, relentless pressure from a strong Skyrocket defensive front which held the Wildcats scoreless in the 3rd quarter. But it would appear that the Wildcats live for the 4th quarter, as the fast-to-line-up quick-snapping NASCAR offense kept up the blistering pace and burned the Skyrocket pass rush and secondary with a 53 yard TD strike to WR Cameron Copley, his second TD on the night.

Schafer ended his performance with completing 20-of-29 and 1 INT, 229 yards, compared to Wellington’s 6-of-16, 1 INT for 62 yards. Canadian had 439 total yards to Wellington’s 175 yards.

The exclamation point for the Wildcats was dotted by an 86 yard punt return by RB Chance Cook. Cook’s juke on Wellington RB/DL Fortenio Montelongo at the Skyrockets 40 yard line gave him an unobstructed field using the sideline as if it were a track lane for a 100M dash to navigate for the score. Cook has now rushed 1,014 yards and scored 15 TDs on the season with three conference games remaining before the playoffs.

Wellington, having losses now to both Stratford (13-8) and Canadian (38-0), should hold on to the 3rd seed position coming out of District 1-2A. The match between Canadian at Stratford next Friday (Oct. 23th) is one of the most anticipated Class 2A games of the year and will most likely determine the District 1-2A Champion. On a nature turf with three days of rain predicted, anything can happen.

By Jerry Brunson, Canadian Wildcats Correspondent

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