Panthers thump Canada Prep, 41-0
It was not a good sign for Canada Prep Football Academy when the Canadian national anthem was zapped by technical difficulties prior to the Raiders battle with MIAA powerhouse St. Frances Academy, Saturday afternoon at Dunbar’s Sugarcane Field.
Things would only get worse for the visitors from St. Catherine’s, Ontario, as the talent-rich Panthers dominated on both sides of the ball, rolling to a 41-0 season opening win on a warm August afternoon in East Baltimore.
St. Frances scored three first quarter touchdowns and led 28-0 at the half. The Panthers added another score early in the third quarter to start a running clock, as they made quick work of the Raiders.
A fumble inside of the Canada Prep 5-yard line prevented St. Frances from scoring on its first possession, but the defense forced a short punt that returned the ball to SFA at the Prep 32-yard line and the Panthers needed just five plays to reach the end zone for the first time in 2017, with sophomore Osman Savage doing the honors, powering up the middle for a 12-yard run to pay dirt.
Canada Prep, which was limited to just 49 total yards in the contest, was forced into another three-and-out, after starting its next drive at its own 20, and the ensuing punt was returned 38 yards by Panther senior Kwincy Hall to set St. Frances up with another short field.
Three plays later, junior Jalon Jones, who split the quarterback duties with fellow junior Logan Holgorsen, scored on a 3-yard keeper and the Panthers led 14-0, with 4:19 to play in the opening quarter. It took just 58 seconds for St. Frances to reach the end zone again, as sophomore Jalon Toles gathered a fumbled lateral by Prep’s Kian Williams and returned it 23-yards for a TD.
“It was very intense,” said Toles, who was converted to defensive back during the preseason. “I got switched to the position late. I just had to come out quick and produce.”
St. Frances’ other scores came on an 18-yard pass from Jones to senior sensation Randy Fields, who is headed to West Virginia next fall, a 2-yard run by Savage, in the third quarter, and a 1-yard run by Joachim Bangda, in the fourth. SFA amassed 310 yards of total offense.
Another Panther who produced at a high level is the state’s second-rated football recruit, defensive end Eyabi Anoma. Anoma spent as much time in the Canada Prep backfield as did the Raider backs, recording several tackles for loss and three sacks, after producing 24 sacks last year.
The effort was especially satisfying for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior, who is playing just his second season of organized football, because his father and sister flew in from Cameroon, Africa to see him play football for the first time.
“It means a lot,” said Anoma. “Family is definitely something special, especially having my father and sister here. It really means a lot. You don’t get a lot of time to play in front of them. My mom is still in Africa. Hopefully, she’ll get a chance to come watch me too. It didn’t change how I play. We came into the week with a game plan and we executed it.”
According to Anoma, there is little time to savor the victory.
“This game is over,” he said. “Now we enter into some tougher games and we’re going to compete. We’re emerging real well right now, so I fell like we’re going to do pretty well.”
Indeed this will get tougher. Next Friday night, at Patterson Park’s UTZ field, the Panthers will host national power Bishop Sullivan (VA). The following week they visit the nation’s top-ranked team in Florida’s IMG Academy and then they will face New Jersey national power Dom Bosco Prep.
“It’s going to get hard from here with Bishop Sullivan, IMG, Dom Bosco and then the MIAA,” said St. Frances co-head coach Henry Russell. “We’re happy with where we are and we just have to keep getting better.”
Russell, however, acknowledge that things are coming together for the program.
“It was a good day for us. We started putting things together and we’re getting better every week. Both quarterbacks did a good job running the offense, both did real nice things for us. On defense we shut them down. They had 49 yards, so that’s a good start.
ST. FRANCES 41, CANADA PREP 0
CP 0 0 0 0 — 0
SF 21 7 7 6 — 41
SF – Osman Savage 12 run (Jake Larson kick)
SF – Jalon Jones 3 run (Larson kick)
SF – Jordan Toles 23 fumble return (Larson kick)
SF – Randy Fields 18 pass from Jones (Larson kick)
SF – Savage 2 run (Larson failed)
SF – Joachim Bangda 1 run (kick failed)