For the first time since 1988, the Metamora football team was without a win through its first two games. It wasn’t going to make it three.
The Redbirds controlled every aspect of Friday night’s tilt against Canton, finishing with a 37-0 Mid-Illini victory at Ron Fahnestock Field.
The key for Metamora (1-2, 1-0) was a defense that didn’t give up a first down or allow Canton past midfield until midway through the third quarter. It also held the Little Giants’ top offensive threat, running back Jake Chenoweth, to 49 yards on 16 carries.
“I think the biggest thing for us was that we were able to stop the run,” Metamora coach Pat Ryan said. “Chenoweth’s a gifted runner. He’s a hard runner. We forced them to throw it maybe a little more than they want to. It was a big step for our defense.”
Metamora quarterback Brendan Nachtrieb made sure the defense wasn’t the only thing shining under the lights as he opened up the scoring with a 35-yard scamper with 5:57 remaining in the first quarter.
A minute into the second quarter, Nachtrieb again found the end zone with a 13-yard run, and followed with a touchdown through the air, connecting with wideout Jimmie Salmon for a 25-yard score two minutes later.
Though Canton didn’t put any points on the board, coach Justin Miller was still proud of his player’s effort against one of the top teams in the area.
“I’m so proud of my kids,” he said. “The way they came out, they could’ve laid down but they stood up and fought. That’s the best effort we’ve ever had against Metamora in a long time.”
Miller hinted at a special pregame event that may have gotten his team into the fighting spirit.
“We showed them the war scene from ‘Braveheart’ in the locker room before we came out here and I think it got them pretty pumped up, but there was great leadership tonight,” he said. “Lukas Smith played a great game on defense.
“We were without a couple of our horses tonight, and our kids battled hard all night. I’m proud of them.”
Metamora running back Gage Patton led the way for the Redbirds with 95 yards on nine rushes, while Dekota Doerr had 12 carries for 88 yards.
Nachtrieb finished with 87 yards passing and 50 yards on the ground.