By Tim Ward
The game almost looked like a scrimmage because everything was so similar between the two schools. Same colors. Same school initials for the most part. Same mascot. Same songs played by the band. One noticable difference: Canton has a drill team and Crystal Springs doesn’t.
With all that out of the way, these two teams played an exciting chess match style football game with Crystal Springs winning with about 1:02 left in the game.
Crystal Springs had a few chances early in the first quarter but had two touchdown drops by their receivers. Canton kept getting bogged down once they entered the red zone. They could not continuously punch it in.
In the second quarter, Canton scored on a touchdown pass to Larondric Ratliff, who took advantage of a blown defensive assignment by Crystal Springs. Extra point was no good andCanton leads 6 to 0. Canton’s defense played well holding Crystal Springs offense in check most of the night.
Coming into the game, Crystal Springs had scored a total of 70 points in their last two victories. For the season, they were averaging 25 points per game. But they couldn’t get it going. Like Canton, they would get to the red zone and have trouble punching it in.
Crystal Springs got the ball back in the fourth quarter after a fantastic defensive stand. Canton was inside the 15 yard line with momentum on their side. Their crowd was cheering loudly. Players were throwing their hands up encouraging the crowd. Canton was going for the final nail in the coffin, but couldn’t score.
The Tigers’ defense led by Jakavis Taylor, Jared Jones, and Adarius Benson hounded the “other” Tigers all night.
Crystal Springs takes over with 5 minutes left in the game and 85 yards of real estate ahead of them. That’s when quarterback Jamario Benson started doing his Michael Vick impersonation.
Benson darted, slashed and practically danced around Canton’s defense. They could not get him down. He got first downs with his feet as well as his arm. Big point in the game, it’s fourth down and about 12 yards to go for Crystal Springs. They take a time out to discuss the play.
Benson takes the snap, goes through his progressions and hits Jeremy Archie with the pass. Archie was about 5 yards short when he initially caught it but was able to outrun the Canton defenders to the first down marker.
Crystal Springs’ fans excited. The team is starting to feel like they can win. Clock continues to tick as Crystal Springs finds themselves in another fourth down. However, this one is fourth and 25 yards to go. At this point in the stadium, both sides are up rooting their teams on.
Benson takes the snap, dodges one defender; he’s running around looking, he’s hit just as he lets the ball go! Ball floats in the air into the arms of Marquell Sanders for a gain of 26 yards! First down Tigers of Crystal Springs.
That play deflated Canton’s defense. They couldn’t recover mentally. Four plays later, quarterback Jamario Benson scored the game winning touchdown. Extra point was good. Canton was unable to score when they got the ball back with less than a minute left.
Final horn sounds and the Tigers win. Unfortunately for Canton, it was the Tigers that roar some 60 miles away.
Crystal Springs improves to 4 & 1 and Canton falls to 2 & 2.