East shocks No. 1-ranked Canfield
Golden Bears score last-minute touchdown
By Brian Dzenis
Confidence is key with East.
For the Golden Bears’ itinerary this week, head coach Brian Marrow inserted what proved to be a fitting Bible scripture for Friday’s contest with Canfield — the No. 1 ranked team in the state in Division III. He went with Hebrews 10:35: “Do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward.”
East’s composure faltered at times, but its belief that it could still come back and win did not and that allowed the Golden Bears to snatch victory from the Cardinals, 12-7, in the game’s final minute.
“I didn’t really process [the win] because my mindset was to just come in and beat them to make a statement and get East respect,” defensive end Blaine Spires said.
East (6-2, 4-0 All-American Conference Red) clinched its first winning season since 2007 riding an excellent defensive performance. The Golden Bears, winners of the league title, haven’t allowed more than 13 points since Week 1 and it’s been a source of pride.
“We believe that nobody is better than us on defense,” East defensive back Delshawn Petrosky said. “Nobody can score on us.”
Trailing 7-6 in the fourth quarter, it looked like penalties were going to spell doom for East. Quarterback Zane Cylar had a 31-yard touchdown run called back on a holding penalty and eventually the Bears were forced to punt.
Faced with a crucial third down in their own end, the Cardinals were called for illegal procedure, but ended up with a first down after East was hit with a hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Bears made it consecutive personal fouls when linebacker Jarail Jenkins was ejected for throwing his helmet.
“They were losing their composure because they thought [the officials] were taking it away from us. I told the kids that there was still enough time and we were going to win this game,” Marrow said. “I still believed — even with the penalties and one of our guys losing his cool — we had a lot of time and we could win the game.”
East ended up forcing Canfield to punt and the Golden Bears got the ball back at their 32 with 2:26 to play. After utilizing a run-heavy game plan in the first half, East switched to a spread and got great results. Cylar found a diving Marquan Herron for 40 yards and a roughing-the-passer penalty put his team in the red zone.
Marcus Finkley caught the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds left. Petrosky intercepted Dawson on Canfield’s next drive to seal the victory.
“I was thinking, ‘This is the game! We won!’ I was really happy that I caught the pick,” Petrosky said. “It was fun. They put up a good fight.”
Canfield (7-1, 1-1) was limited to 92 yards on the ground and 42 in the air.
“They were really well-coached. Their defense played big and fast starting with [defensive linemen] Chris Fitzgerald and Terrance Yeboah in the middle,” Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky said. “They’re as good as any defense we’ve seen.”
Cylar threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Spires and Yeboah each collected a sack.