moments after Canton's 40-17 opening-round playoff triumph over
Plymouth Friday night, Chief head coach Tim Baechler stopped Kevin
Delapaz in his tracks and gave his senior quarterback a hearty
It was one of the few times all night Delapaz was contained.
The southpaw signal-caller was the catalyst of Canton's 497-yard attack as he ran for 155 yards and two scores, and threw for 126 and a TD.
"Kevin may not be a great runner like their No. 5 (Victor Hicks), but he's fast and he understands what he's doing," said Baechler. "We finally made some plays with our passing game tonight. Kevin laid the ball right in there for our receivers and they caught the ball."
Canton, which improved to 9-1, will host Ann Arbor Pioneer (8-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Pioneers thumped Temperance Bedford, 28-7.
Plymouth closed its season with a 6-4 mark.
The first half of Friday night's cross-campus playoff showdown was a far cry from the two teams' previous encounter: a 49-7 Canton victory on Sept. 11.
Plymouth went toe-to-toe with the Chiefs and trailed just 20-17 at the break on a windy, unseasonably warm autumn night.
"We came out tonight and got off the ball, and matched their intensity and toughness in the first half," said Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk. "But we had them third-and-long three times in the first half and we gave up big plays. You can't do that against Canton."
After Canton's defense forced a Plymouth punt on the game-opening possession, the contest took on a ping pong-like scoring pace: back and forth, back and forth.
The Chiefs jumped ahead 7-0 on their opening drive when Delapaz scored untouched on a 4-yard keeper with 3:54 left in the first quarter. The score was set up on the previous play when fullback Adam Payter dodged and darted 21 yards through the Wildcats' secondary like an amped-up bumper car.
The Wildcats answered on the first play of the second quarter when junior kicker Kyle Brindza boomed a 48-yard field to cut his team's deficit to 7-3. Brindza's kick may have been good from 60 yards out.
Canton's next possession was short and sweet for the Chiefs when Delapaz followed Ryan Dunleavy's block and raced 77 yards to paydirt to make it 14-3 58 seconds into the second quarter.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more from our offensive line tonight," Delapaz said. "They may be undersized, but they're some of the toughest kids I know. They're all such hard workers."
Plymouth cut the gap to 14-10 on its next drive, a six-play, 71-yard masterpiece that was capped by Victor Hicks' six-yard, second-effort run. Hicks set up the TD with a 51-yard effort the play before he scored.
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