MASSENA - The Massena Central varsity football team bounced back from its first loss of the season by outscoring Canton Central 28-8 under the lights at Mike Nicholas Field on Friday.
Canton is a tough football team. Our guys really had to battle tonight, said coach Anthony Diagostino after the Raiders raised their NAC record to 4-1 by turning back an undermanned Bears that had 16 players dressed for the game.
For whatever reason, it took a while to get the wheels going offensively. Our defense definitely kept us in the game, especially in the first half, he added.
The Raiders worked their way to a 14-0 halftime lead then sandwiched two more touchdowns around the only Canton scoring in the third quarter before going on to settle for the 20-point win.
After pushing the Bears back on their opening drive, the Raiders took over on the Canton 48 for their first possession of the game. Two plays later, after an incomplete pass, senior runningback JP Reagan darted through the middle of the line and found his way down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown run. Jayce Lanning then added the first of his four PAT kicks to put Massena ahead 7-0.
While the Raider defense held the Bears to negative yardage through the first half, the offense struggled to consistently worked the ball downfield. Midway through the second quarter with the Raiders facing a fourth-down-and-four, quarterback Rory Corcoran connected through the air with Josh Manley cutting across the field for what turned out to be a 38-yard touchdown catch.
The Raiders pushed their lead to 21-0 early in the third quarter when Corcoran hooked up with Xavier Viskovich for an 18-yard touchdown strike but junior quarter Hunter Yerdon helped the Bears countered with a long scoring drive that ended with Yerdon finding his way into the endzone from 10 yards out before going on to run the ball in for the ensuing two-point conversion.
The Raiders answered with their final touchdown drive of the night, ending with Corcoran bolting across the goalline from 14 yards out.
Reagan finished with 95 yards on 10 carries while catching two passes for 10 yards. Corcoran ran for 50 yards on five carries and connected on six of 13 passes for 72 yards. Manley had three catches for 56 yards.
Defensively, Jeremy Malone notched eight tackles to lead a Massena effort that produced five sacks and an interception by Reagan, who tallied five tackles, including a sack. Senior Robert Cunningham and classmate Sam Gerber finished with two sacks each while junior Nolan Terrance had two tackles for negative yardage.
We got off to a nice start with three straight wins but weve hit a little valley our last couple of games. Were happy to get the win tonight but we werent as sharp as a I hoping wed be, noted Diagostino.
Weve got Gouverneur at home next week and we need to hammer down and focus on getting ready for that game, he added.