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East Canton falls in season opener to Lucas

By WALTER DOERSCHUK The Press-News Published: September 2, 2016 10:00 AM

Lucas High School sits in the western part of Ohio a little more than 7.3 miles southeast of Mansfield.

That's where the East Canton High School football team made the approximately 75 minute trek to open the season last Friday. The Hornets fell to Lucas, 49-27, in a matchup driven by Lucas' heavy ground game.

The Cubs piled up 439 rushing yards on 51 carries. They threw just one pass the entire night.

Hornets head coach John "Spider" Miller said he didn't "feel the long bus ride had any effect on us."

"We traveled to Wellsville for our second scrimmage and treated it like a game," Miller said.

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James McCullough and Travis Nelson steered a balanced running attack for East Canton which totaled 131 yards. McCullough tallied six carries for 57 yards. Nelson carried seven times for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Nelson got his team going with 2:13 left in the first quarter. Lucas had just scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to go ahead 21-0. But Nelson took the next kickoff at his own 10 and went 90 yards for a score.

East Canton quarterback Mitch Mitchell completed 7-of-16 passes for 139 yards on the night. He fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Baad with 4:12 left in the game, and he also added a 2-yard touchdown run in the closing seconds.

"Our players fought the entire game," Miller said. "They never gave up."

The Hornets will get set to play their home opener tonight against Waterloo at 7 p.m. The Vikings are one of the Hornets' former opponents from the Portage Trail Conference.

"Waterloo does not run Lucas's offense," Miller said. "They are more of an 3 by 1, 2 by 2, 2 by 1, empty looks. Lucas is a very good football team and so is Waterloo. We must practice hard and correct the mental mistakes we made. Everything was corrected at our film session Saturday."

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