Canton's Juawon Taylor (11) makes a leaping catch against Germantown on Friday, September 6, 2019, at Germantown High School in Gluckstadt.
Canton's Juawon Taylor (11) makes a leaping catch against Germantown on Friday, September 6, 2019, at Germantown High School in Gluckstadt.
Calvin Bolton and his Canton Tigers had 11 months to think about what could have been against cross-town rival Germantown last October.

They had ‘em dead to rights, down 16-0 in the fourth quarter when Tim Shramek’s Mavs rattled off 20 unanswered points in the final quarter to stay unbeaten against the Tigers.

“We had them on the ropes,” Bolton recalled. “That was a tough one to swallow.”

Going through that might have been rough, but it made the Tiger’s 21-14 overtime victory over the Mavs all the sweeter.

“It’s just a huge win for our program, our school and our city,” Bolton said. “It’s definitely going to give us the boost we need going into district play.”

And Friday’s win was no fluke - the Tigers (3-0) trailed only briefly and stymied the Maverick offense for most of the night.

In fact, the Canton defense played well enough to limit the Germantown, who was missing sophomore Branson Robinson, to 238 yards of total offense.

After the two teams traded punts for most of the first quarter, Canton’s defense came up with a huge fumble recovery on Germantown’s side of the 50-yard line. That set up Canton’s first score on Jacobian Morgan’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Juawon Taylor to give Canton the 7-0 lead early in the opening minute of the second quarter.

Germantown responded with a 65-yard touchdown drive, capped by Nick Barnes’ 5-yard scoring run, that tied the game at 7-7.

After the halftime break, Barnes got back to work with a 59-yard run down inside the Canton 5-yard line to set up his second rushing touchdown from three yards out to give Canton the 14-7 lead.

Undeterred, the Tigers stormed right back in the fourth quarter with an 81-yard drive, in which they converted a key fourth-down attempt deep in Germantown territory.

They punched it in on Morgan’s 3-yard scramble to knot it up again at 14-14.

After getting out-scored 20-0 in the fourth quarter a year ago, Canton refused to go away Friday.

The Tigers got the ball back and drove the field for a potential game-winning touchdown with five minutes to go, but Germantown’s A.J. Edwards recovered a Canton fumble at the 5-yard line.

In the overtime period, Morgan again found Taylor from 2 yards out to put the Tigers ahead 21-14 and the Canton defense shut down the Mavs to secure the win.

“After they came out and put 20 points on us in the fourth quarter last year, we preached not letting up for a whole year,” Bolton said. “I think our kids have earned it, because we put in a lot of work this summer.”

Morgan finished the night with 262 yards and accounted for all three of the Tiger touchdowns. He was not incredibly efficient, completing just 20 of his 36 passes and losing 11 yards on three carries, but he was clutch in key situations.

His favorite target, Taylor, caught nine balls for 94 yards and two scores.

Canton tailback Gavin Griffin, who is just an eighth-grader, led the Tigers in rushing with 81 yards on 18 carries.

“All year long we’ve been preaching being able to handle adversity and playing until the clock hits zero,” Bolton said. “We don’t ever feel like we’re down. I’m excited about the direction we’re going.”

Germantown, which was without star sophomore tailback and linebacker Branson Robinson, got a great performance out of Barnes, their other bell-cow back. He finished with 110 yards on 17 carries and both Maverick touchdowns.

“Branson is going to be fine,” Shramek said. “He’ll be back in time for district play.”

Quarterback Colton Gardner completed half of his 20 pass attempts for 86 yards with one interception. Gardner made an even bigger impact on the game with his leg, punting seven times for 304 yards (a 43.4 yard average) and downed three of them inside the Canton 20-yard line.

“He certainly had a good night punting the football,” Shramek said. “I thought Canton was really good last year, but they looked to be even more improved.”

Germantown is off this week before hosting Terry (2-1) on Sept. 20.

Canton has one more tune-up game this week at Yazoo City before their bye week. They open region play Sept. 27 at home against Ridgeland (2-1).