Young & hungry CHS football team rolls to season-opening win

Senior captain Alec Ragusa scored 3 TD's in last week's rout of Pentucket. (Mike Barucci photo)

Senior captain Alec Ragusa scored 3 TD’s in last week’s rout of Pentucket. (Mike Barucci photo)

It’s a brand new start for the CHS football team this year with a major influx of young talent, enthusiasm, and hustle.

And this was apparent right from the opening kickoff Friday night as Canton exploded for three first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 42-7 season-opening victory over Pentucket Regional.

The Bulldogs would later add two more scores in the second quarter and went into halftime with a commanding 35-0 lead. The Sachems scored their lone touchdown early in the fourth quarter and then Canton topped off the scoring with senior Alain James scampering 62 yards into the end zone.

Senior captain Alec Ragusa, chosen to wear No. 20 on “Billy Cravens Night” in honor of the late Bulldog legend, did everything Friday night. He scored three touchdowns at running back and was dominant defensively at linebacker, recovering two fumbles and finishing as the second leading tackler.

Sophomore Gersom Rivera also excelled at running back for the Bulldogs, rushing for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Sophomore Johnny Hagan had a strong debut as the new starting quarterback, orchestrating the attack and completing two passes — one a 20-yard strike to Rivera and the other a 39-yard pass to senior captain Tony Harris, who initially scored a touchdown on the play before it was called back because of a penalty.

Another sophomore, kicker Owen Lehane, was perfect on the night as he converted all seven point after touchdown (PAT) attempts.

The Canton offensive line was dominant as the Bulldogs gained 228 yards on the ground. Leading the way with good blocking execution were captains Jude Albert, Tommy DeLello, and Kearvens Theodore along with Jack Connolly and Pat LeBelle. Head coach Dave Bohane said the line is capable of even more as some players were out with injuries.

Rosey Cravens and her niece Jamie Piro after the national anthem (Mike Barucci photo)

Rosey Cravens and her niece Jamie Piro after the national anthem (Mike Barucci photo)

On defense, the Bulldogs only allowed the Sachems a handful of first downs and recovered several fumbles that led to Canton scores. The players swarmed to the ball and gang tackled on many plays. Junior Brendan Albert led the team with six tackles and cornerbacks Cordell Smith, David Allen, and Marlon Joseph each broke up passes and defended well.

Bohane said while the team played exceptionally well against a Pentucket team that finished 3-8 last season — the same record as the Bulldogs — the real test comes this week at Scituate at 7 p.m. A playoff team last year, the Sailors narrowly defeated Canton during the 2016 regular season and opened the new campaign with a decisive win over Milford last week, 34-7.

“I knew going in we were young, athletic and competitive,” said Bohane. “Friday night we played physical and controlled the tempo of the game. I liked the way we tackled and swarmed to the ball. Already I saw six to seven players from that undefeated freshman team from last year make a big difference and we played a lot more as the game went on. Scituate will be a big test for us.”

Commenting on why Ragusa was chosen to wear the jersey of Billy Cravens, Bohane said, “Actually it was the players’ vote. Billy Cravens was a consummate team player and I think the players feel the same way about Alex. He is a quiet leader who does a lot for the team.”

Prior to the game, the team held a 50-50 raffle and raised over $220 to benefit the ALS Family Charitable Foundation in memory of Cravens, who passed away in 2014 due to complications from ALS. Family members spoke in memory of Cravens and his niece, Jamie Piro, sang the National Anthem. The game was well attended, especially by CHS students.

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avatar Posted by on Sep 15 2017. Filed under High School, Sports. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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