Fast start by Canton leaves Mineola playing catch up in 34-12 defeat

Posted 8/31/23

The Mineola Yellowjackets walked into a bit of an ambush Friday as the Canton Eagles put up 28 first quarter points and handed the Jackets a 34-12 season-opening defeat.

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Fast start by Canton leaves Mineola playing catch up in 34-12 defeat


The Mineola Yellowjackets walked into a bit of an ambush Friday as the Canton Eagles put up 28 first quarter points and handed the Jackets a 34-12 season-opening defeat.

Canton scored on four of its first five possessions, often using a quick-strike capability which featured spreading the field and working the open spaces to their advantage.

The Yellowjackets gifted the Eagles the ball after fumbling the opening possession. Canton scored on the next play with a 15-yard slant route.

Following a Mineola punt, Canton was back on the ball at their own 40-yard line. The Mineola defense began to pressure the Eagles.

The delayed blitzing action of Corde Berry and solid work from Juan Villaneuva hurried the Canton quarterback. Paul Stanley had an interception just glance off his pads.

Canton, however, kept winging the ball downfield. They flooded the western half of the field and hit a long ball down to the Jackets’ 30-yard line. They scored two plays later by walking into the end zone off the right side from four yards out.

Mineola hit a straight go route on their next possession with quarterback Trevor Singletary lofting a perfect ball to Colton McMahon. The play put the Jackets at the Canton 29-yard line. Three plays later, the drive ended when a flag-route toss was slightly under thrown and the Eagles picked the ball.

The teams exchanged fumbles. When the dust settled, Canton had the ball at the Mineola 34-yard line. After being forced back to midfield, the Eagles connected on a deep out-and-up route which went 42 yards for a score.

With just under three minutes left in the first quarter, the home side had opened a 21-0 lead.

Mineola needed – something. They got it from Braydon Alley on the ensuing kick-off.

Alley fielded the deep kick at his own 23-yard line. He took several strides to the right sideline and drew practically all on-rushing defenders to that side of the field. He then made one cut and accelerated between the only two Canton coverage men yet on the left side of the field. Once clear of the two he outraced the pursuit for a stunning 77-yard kick-off return touchdown.

It was a beautifully-executed return, and gave the Jackets some life.

Mineola kicker Noah Turner almost pulled off a great onside kick attempt, which had caught Canton by surprise. The ball however just eluded his teammates and passed out of bounds.

Canton scored two plays later on what was a real back-breaker for the Yellowjackets. The Eagles connected on a wide-receiver screen which went 56 yards for a score. Four Jacket defenders were in a position to make a play, but the speed of the Eagle wide receiver made the defenders pay for missteps.

At the end of the first quarter the score stood 28-6.

The game settled in the second quarter with the teams exchanging five punts. Mineola did not see Canton territory for the remainder of the half. The Eagles drove once late in the half, but the Jacket defense stuffed a fourth-down attempt and forced a turnover-on-downs.

Each team possessed the ball seven times in the second half, scoring once.

After Yellowjacket Mario Bautista made a great play coming out of his safety position to intercept a ball deep in Jacket territory, Mineola struck. For the second time on the night, Singletary connected with McMahon on a deep ball. McMahon made a great catch elevating between two defenders, and raced the length of the field for an 88-yard score.

Just before the quarter break, Mineola had closed the score to 28-12.

A comeback was just not to be, as the Jackets could not open running lanes. They managed just two first downs in the remainder of the game.

Canton cemented the win with a late touchdown.

As with all pre-district games, this game was a measure. The game will be dissected to identify what corrective actions will be addressed with the Sept. 22 district-opener in mind.

On the positive side of the ledger, Mineola can take consolation in having adjusted well to the pass-happy Canton attack. They held the Eagles to just 120 yards in the second half.

Additionally, they have some weapons. Alley, McMahon, and Trenton Seely each stepped-up to demonstrate offensive talent.

Certainly, the Jackets will be working hard to get their offensive line in sync and staying at their blocks.

Defensively, Mineola had exposure to a pretty talented offensive unit, which had speed and challenging schemes. The Jackets will have to transition much more quickly from their reads to closing action in order to dominate in District 5-3A.

Mineola hosts the Hughes Springs Mustangs Friday at Meredith Memorial Stadium for homecoming.