Eagles, Vandals earn week two wins

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Van Zandt County football teams struggled once again during the second week of the 2017 season, matching their overall performance from week one by going a combined 2-4 overall. Van, the most successful program in the county last season, bounced back from an 27-0 deficit against Palestine Sept. 8 to score a 48-34 win over the Panthers. Canton also found its way to the win column, getting multi-touchdown efforts from both McGwire Martin and Simon Miller to score a 42-31 win over Grace Community.

Through two weeks of the season, Van currently sits at 2-0, Canton and Edgewood are 1-1, and Fruitvale, Grand Saline and Wills Point are all 0-2. 

Canton

The Canton Eagles made their way to Tyler last week, taking on the Grace Community Cougars for the fourth consecutive season. Canton, winners in two of the last three meetings with the Cougars, got the better of Grace once again securing a 42-31 win on the road Sept. 8.

Led by touchdowns from Simon Miller, McGwire Martin and Tanner Moore, Canton built up a 21-7 lead in the first half of play. Grace would rally, eventually tying the game heading into the half by capitalizing on an Eagle turnover.

Canton would not be denied, however, getting scores from Carter Day, Simon Miller and McGwire Martin in the second half to pull away from the Cougars for an 11-point win.

Canton, now 1-1 on the season, was scheduled to welcome the Mabank Panthers to Norris Birdwell Stadium Sept. 15. Play between the two teams has been highly competitive in recent seasons with Mabank scoring a 35-34 win over the Canton in 2015 and the Eagles returning the favor in 2016 with a 33-24 win over the Panthers in Mabank.

Edgewood

The Edgewood Bulldogs struggled to overcome a 20-0 first half deficit against Caddo Mills Sept. 8, falling 34-20 to the Foxes.

Caddo Mills running back Payton Hammons was red-hot in the early going, scoring on runs of 20-, 47-, and 9-yards. Edgewood stormed back early in the third quarter, cutting the deficit down to a single score with two touchdowns, including an electrifying 64-yard run by Carter Bates. 

Edgewood, now 1-1 on the season, was scheduled to host Commerce Sept. 15 for their first home contest of the season. The Tigers will enter play against the Bulldogs with an 0-2 record, including losses 49-27 loss to Lone Oak Sept. 1 and a 50-48 loss to overtime loss to Leonard Sept. 8.

Fruitvale

The Fruitvale Bobcats moved to 0-2 overall on the season Sept. 8, falling in a tightly contested game against the visiting Leverett’s Chapel Lions 34-32.

Posting on the Fruitvale ISD Facebook page, Coach Casey Chase noted, “The Bobcats made several great plays both offensively and defensively as these young men played their tails off all night long. A couple of unfortunate calls/plays in key moments proved to be too much for the Bobcats to overcome. The game was back and forth all night long and with the Bobcats trailing by two with a couple minutes to go, it seemed the Bobcats were about to steal the game as they forced a huge turnover to get the ball back and hopefully set up the winning drive. Unfortunately, a late whistle that called a false start on the opponent’s offense gave them the ball back and they were able to run the clock out sealing the defeat for the Bobcats.

“Offensively the Bobcats were led by Preston Thompson who completed 19 of 28 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. Preston also had 70 yards on kick returns to go along with a touchdown as well. Davin Brightman had three rushing touchdowns to go along with 54 yards. Paul Garner also had a big night catching 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.

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