Almost any team would take the season Canton had last year.
They went 10-2 on the year, 9-1 in the regular season. They made a District 4 final and had an eight-game win streak in the season.
While the 10 wins were nice, the two losses are what sting the Warriors.
Three points to North Penn-Mansfield to cost the Warriors a league title, and two points to Muncy in the district final, costing them a district crown.
A year later the Warriors find themselves in the exact same spot. Hosting Muncy in a district title game.
However, this year, the Warriors have the taste of that loss last year in their mouth.
“We took a bite out of a lemon the first day of practice to get the sour taste and coach said this was one of those teams that gave us the sour taste,” senior Garrett Storch said. “So, we are ready to go back and play some Canton Warrior football.”
For the Warriors it’s been a long year since the last game against Muncy, and a rematch has been on the team’s mind.
“I am pumped,” Ben Knapp said. “We have been waiting for this for a year now. Nothing better than getting revenge on our own field.
“We have been thinking about that game for a year now. They are a tough team, they are resilient and they are used to being in this spot. We just want to go and knock them off, and we want to take what is ours.”
What happened last year is big motivation for the kids this year.
“Last year we missed out,” Knapp said. “We lost two games, missed out on the two biggest games of our season. It would be great to bring home the gold for our seniors.”
“It makes me want to go out there, not that we didn’t leave our heart out there last year, but I know this year everybody wants it more,” Storch said.
It’s been three decades since the Warriors have won a title, and they are hoping this is the year that wait ends.
“We have many players who played in last year’s district title game and I think that experience will help us this year,” Canton coach Tyler Sechrist said. “Canton hasn’t won a title game in almost 30 years. It would be huge for our football program and community to win the district title at home.”
“It’s been 30 years since Canton’s got one,” Storch said. “Coach made us do 30 up downs the other day because we didn’t go on two. It would be sweet to bring that home.”
One of the challenges in facing Muncy is trying to beat the same team twice in a season after the Warriors defeated Muncy 27-13 on Sept. 27.
“It is always tough to beat a team twice in a season,” Sechrist said. “You have a good idea about what you are going to see, but both teams will add some wrinkles this week.”
A week ago the Warriors had a tough game against South Williamsport, that was scoreless into the fourth quarter. In the end Canton scored 24 fourth-quarter points to get the win.
“We were a little tentative in the first quarter,” Storch said. We were laid back, coming into the second half we knew we had to lay it all down and we had to be nice and crisp, especially with our defense, we couldn’t give up much with defense.”
Being in a tight game last week is something the Canton players feel like can help them this week.
“We played a great team in South Williamsport,” Knapp said. “Their record is no sign of how good they are. They are a great team, they played a super hard schedule. It was really nice to play a super hard team right off the bat to get prepared for the final.”
One of the keys for the Warriors is a balanced attack on offense. The run game has had a lot of success this year, and last week the pass game was really clicking in the win over South.
“Like coach said, you set up your passing game with your running game,” Storch said. “You’ve got to get your running game down and then that opens up the pass.”
The big threat in the passing game is Knapp, who has been quarterback Uriah Baillie’s favorite target this season.
For Knapp, getting involved in the offense early would be special.
“It would be huge,” Knapp said. “I spent my whole summer going to camps and doing what I could to come out here and be the best football player I can. To have all that work pay off and come home with a district title would be amazing.”
Sechrist knows how excited his team is to have this game in Canton.
They are feeling good and excited to have the opportunity to play for a district title at home,” Sechrist said.
While having the game in Canton is nice, the players know that they had the game at home a year ago to, so they can’t get too confident.
“It’s something special to have it at home, but we can’t get too big of heads, because last year that’s what happened,” Storch said. “We thought we are the top seed, they are coming into our house, we are going to beat them, and it didn’t happen that way and this year we have to turn that around.”
Losing a year ago really was tough for the Warriors, but it also serves as motivation.
Canton’s players know they can’t let down, they know they have to be focused and ready.
“That set us back, that was a reality check for us,” Storch said of last year. “It showed us we aren’t the top dogs anymore, and coming into this year we worked extra hard to make sure we were the top dogs.”