By William for

NEWTON – It was a game for the history books on Saturday in Newton as the Canton/Galva football team scored an 8-Man Division I State Championship with a 66-36 victory over perennial powerhouse St. Francis.


The only championship game of the day matching up two unbeaten teams, St. Francis for the first quarter and two-thirds looked as if their size and physicality was going to take the Eagles to the woodshed as they took advantage of four Canton/Galva turnovers to score five touchdowns and take a seemingly overwhelming lead of 36-0 with just a hair under three minutes to go before the halftime break.

But the Eagles pulled themselves up by their boot straps and took advantage of a couple of St. Francis miscues to score two quick touchdowns before the break on a one-yard scoring run by Landon Everett with 1:39 to go and a 26-yard scoring pass from Everett to Tyson Struber with just :58 left in the half, cutting the Indians lead to 36-14 at halftime.

When questioned about that first half, Eagles Head Coach Shelby Hoppes summed it up with several ideas by saying, “St. Francis is very much as physical as they are advertised and maybe then some. Then we went and just plain put the ball on the ground with three fumbles that came without any contact, well some of that could be our kids playing on a big stage like a championship game for the first time, while St. Francis has been there before. Plus, with Landon (Everett) resting his shoulder and not practicing all week, it could’ve been a little bit of rust from lack of physical contact.”

As the two teams took the field for the second half, it was like the Eagles had once again found their mojo as their defense totally shutdown St. Francis’s power, single-wing running attack while Everett found some holes in the Indians defense and connected with super sophomore Tyson Struber for two more scoring passes, this time from 52 and 26 yards out. Those two scores pulled Canton/Galva back to within 10 at 36-26 heading into the final quarter of play for the game and the season.

“First thing we did was make some adjustments to what was working and what we thought we could take advantage of,” was Coach Hoppes answer when asked about what happened in the locker room during the halftime break. “We also reminded them about how they scored 14 points late in the second quarter to bring the score close and asked them how many times this team put up more than 30 points on the board in a single quarter this season? They knew they had done it before and could do it again, plus I made sure they understood that I believe in them and that I knew it would take heart to bounce back in the second half and felt that they all had that heart while knowing that they would never give up.”

While two more scores in the third quarter looked impressive, the Eagles had only just begun to pop open the offensive bottle as they literally buried St. Francis in the final quarter of the game and season by running 40 more points up the scoreboard on five scorings runs by Everett, of 60, 9, and 27 yards, plus two by Brayden Collins from four and one yard out.

So, from what looked like they were being hit by a runaway St. Francis train in the first half, the Eagles pounded their hearts and shut the doors on the Indian offense while flying throw the holes to run their way to the schools first ever State Championship victory, 66-36.

When one looks at the stats it looks like the final score and would say the Eagles pounded St. Francis, when in reality most of the 253 yards in offense the Indians gained on 69 offensive plays came in the first half. And Canton/Galva found out that if you shutdown the St. Francis running attack, you can beat them as they completed none of their eight pass attempts while the Eagles intercepted three of them.

As for Canton/Galva, they rolled up 445 yards in offense from 57 offensive snaps, with 248 of those coming on the ground. One glaring advantage on the stat sheet came on those attempts to make a first down on a third down and yardage. The Eagles converted six of eleven (or 54.5%) while St. Francis only made three of fourteen (just 21.4%).

Much due to the Eagle first half turnovers, St. Francis had a huge advantage in time of possession as they had the ball for nearly 30 minutes while Canton/Galva only had the ball on offense for just barely 18.

Individually, Landon Everett and Tyson Struber were the Eagle stars of the game as Everett completed 10-of-19 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another 148 yards on 17 carries. Struber caught eight of those passes for 188 yards and all three of the scoring passes. Brayden Collins was also an offensive workhorse as he toted the ball 18 times for the Eagles while picking up 99 yards.

Struber also led the Eagles on the defense as well with his 10 tackles, nine of which were solo stops. Brandon Huff also recorded 10 stops with six of his being solo while Conner Koehn, Nick Pearson and Mason Reedy all pitched in with 9.5, 7.5 and 6 tackles respectively.

In and around all the celebrating, Coach Hoppes found a few moments to take a look at the game itself and the amazing season the Eagles have had.

Coach Hoppes was quick to point at the final few minutes of the first half when asked about the moment or moments that changed the game, saying, “Those two offensive drives before the halftime break, combined with two huge defensive stops seemed to reverse the mental side of the game as they realized they were looking at being the victim of the mercy rule if they didn’t take a stand. That final couple of minutes gave our kids momentum and motivation going into the halftime break.”

This 2019 Eagle team finished 13-0 and brought home the 8-Man Division I State Championship Trophy, not bad for a team that was just four years past won but one game and had to forfeit a game due to lack of players. Coach Hoppes came in three years ago when the current seniors were sophomores and they put together four wins before having back to back 11-plus win seasons.

“Every senior class is special, but these seniors were really special due to what they have been through since their freshman season,” noted Coach Hoppes. “These guys have laid the solid foundation and supplied the leadership for the future of our Eagle football program. They bought into what we wanted to do and strived for consistency while always looking to move forward.”

Those seniors finishing out their Eagle careers with the state championship include Landon Everett, Kinser Colgin, Mason Reedy, Andre Patton, Cyler Johnson, Nick Pearson and Jay Nightingale. Among the underclassman that will be back in 2020 are Brandon Huff, Tyson Struber and Brayden Collins.

To close out the day, the week and the season while giving us a glimpse toward next season, Coach Hoppes concluded his post-championship reflections by saying, “As a team and coaching staff, we are going to enjoy this state title for a couple of months. But I am already excited for next season as our junior and sophomore classes are every bit as good and solid as our current seniors. Plus, we can’t forget that our junior high kids have not lost a game in a few seasons. The future is very bright for Canton/Galva Eagle football!!”





St. Francis        22        14        0          0          = 36

EAGLES            0          14        12        40        = 66


St. Francis – Scored on an 8-yard run with 7:03 left in quarter. (2-point conversion was good) 8 – 0

St. Francis – Scored on a 12-yard run with 3:36 left in quarter. (2-point conversion failed) 14 – 0

St. Francis – Scored on an 8-yard run with 3:21 left in quarter. (2-point conversion was good) 22 – 0


St. Francis – Scored on a 3-yard run with 4:03 left in quarter. (2-point conversion was good) 30 – 0

St. Francis – Scored on a 4-yard run with 2:57 left in quarter. (2-point conversion failed) 36 – 0

EAGLES – Landon Everett scored on a 1-yard run with 1:39 left in quarter. (Tyson Struber ran for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 8

EAGLES – Tyson Struber scored on a 26-yard pass from Landon Everett with :58 left in quarter. (2-point conversion failed) 36 – 14


EAGLES – Tyson Struber scored on a 52-yard pass from Landon Everett with 7:24 left in quarter. (2-point conversion failed) 36 – 20

EAGLES – Tyson Struber scored on a 26-yard pass from Landon Everett with 3:34 left in quarter. (2-poin t conversion failed) 36 – 26


EAGLES – Landon Everett scored on a 60-yard run with 11:37 left in quarter. (Tyson Struber ran for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 34

EAGLES – Landon Everett scored on a 9-yard run with 6:45 left in quarter. (Tyson Struber ran for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 42

EAGLES – Landon Everett scored on a 27-yard run with 5:40 left in quarter. (Landon Everett passed to Tyson Struber for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 50

EAGLES – Brayden Collins scored on a 4-yard run with 4:47 left in quarter. (Brayden Collins ran for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 58

EAGLES – Brayden Collins scored on a 1-yard run with 1:47 left in quarter. (Andre Patton ran for the 2-point conversion) 36 – 66


St. Francis                    EAGLES

First Downs                             16                                20

Total Yards (Plays-Yds)            69 – 253                      57 – 445

Passing (Comp-Atts-Yds-Tds)  0-8-0-0                        10-19-197-3

Rushing (Atts-Yds-Tds)            61-253-5                      38-248-6

Turnovers (Fbles-Lost-Int)       2-2-3                            3-2-2

Penalties (#-Yds)                     2-10                              1-5

3rd Down Conversions             3/14-21.4%                  6/11-54.5%

Time of Possession                  29:46                           18:02


Passing (Comp-Atts-Yds-Tds-Int):  Landon Everett 10-19-197-3-2.

Rushing (Atts-Yds-Tds): Landon Everett 17-148-4; Brayden Collins 18-99-2; Tyson Struber 2-2-0; Kinser Colgin 1-(-1)-0.

Receiving (Rec-Yds-Tds): Tyson Struber 8-188-3; Tyler Rummel 1-5-0; Kinser Colgin 1-4-.

Defensive (Tackles-Solo-Sacks-TFL): Tyson Struber 10-9-0-1; Brandon Huff 10-6-0-0; Conner Koehn 9.5-5-0-1; Nick Pearson 7.5-4-0-1; Mason Reedy 6-5-0-0; Landon Everett 3-2-0-1; Brayden Collins 3-2-0-0; Xavier Westbrook 3-2-0-0; Andre Patton 2.5-1-0-.5; Kinser Colgin 1.5-1-0-0; Tyler Rummel 1-1-0-0; Preston Minson 1-1-0-0; Keaton Littrell .5-0-0-0; TJ Koehn .5-0-0-.5.

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(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)