It was technically a home game for the Canisius High School football team but the annual rivalry game wasn’t at the Robert J. Stransky Memorial Complex. Instead the always-anticipated showdown against St. Joe’s was moved to New Era Field for TV purposes.
It hardly mattered.
Canisius continued its dominance of the rival Marauders, controlling the game in all facets in a 55-16 rout in Monsignor Martin Athletic Association action on Friday night.
“It would have been better at Stransky but to come out on this field, it’s great,” Crusaders quarterback Jayce Johnson said. “The Buffalo Bills blessed us with a chance to play here and we were able to show Joe’s who’s the best team in town.”
The win was the eighth straight for the Crusaders over St. Joe’s, which hasn’t won the rivalry game since Chad Kelly graduated. Johnson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Joe Jamison ran for three more scores for Canisius (3-1 overall, 2-0 in the MMAA.)
“It’s always a great feeling to beat Joe’s,” Jamison said. “We worked hard in practice all week and we got the job done. Now we just have to keep going.”
The defense set the tone for the Crusaders, forcing four turnovers that led to 21 points. St. Joe’s didn’t find the end zone until Canisius had built its lead to 35-0.
“I was really happy with our defense,” Canisius coach Rich Robbins said. “We’re young on that side of the ball; it’s been a kind of a process. Tonight I saw a lot more physicality. We’re a turnover defense, that’s something that we coach. We want to get turnovers and the kids did a great job of getting on them. “
The mistakes were due in part to a shorthanded roster for the Marauders. St. Joe’s came into the game missing seven starters and it didn’t get any better. Running back/linebacker Garrett House was injured on the game’s first series and quarterback Casey Kelly limped off in the third quarter with an apparent ankle or foot injury. Asked about the injury status of each player after the game, Marauders coach Derek Landri simply replied “unknown.”
“We’re missing 10 of 22 starters,” he said. “It never helps. You come into a game without guys, these things happen.”
Canisius lost standout tailback Kenyatta Huston to a broken collarbone early in the game. The senior – who torched St. Joe’s for 153 yards and two touchdowns last year – is out indefinitely.
“We’re blessed to have a couple of good running backs,” Robbins said, referring to Jamison, Dan Harig and Joel Nicholas. “Luckily we have some depth there and hopefully we can get Kenyatta back in a couple weeks.”
The injury led to increase opportunity for Jamison, who made the most of it. The speedy junior ran for 83 yards on just 10 carries and had touchdowns of 1, 36 and 10 yards.
“Great job by linemen, they were the ones that got me those touchdowns,” Jamison said. “They did their jobs today and I was just able to do my part to help my team win.”
Harig added a 38-yard score for the Crusaders. Johnson threw for 162 yards and touchdowns of 35 yards to Paul Woods and 52 yards to R.J. Brandon. Big James Desiderio added a defensive score for Canisius, returning a fumble 19 yards.
Kelly ran for 93 yards, including a 26-yard TD run. Anthony McCarley added a late 28-yard touchdown run for the Marauders (2-2, 1-1 MMAA).
This was one three games moved to New Era Field as part of a programming package for MSG Network and OneBuffalo.com. Canisius will be back at the stadium on Oct. 19 to play St. Francis. St. Joe’s played Aquinas last week.
“It’s always an awesome experience to play here,” Robbins said. “The atmosphere was great; the students were out in full force. Any time you can play at the Bills’ stadium, it’s great for the kids and any time you can beat your rival, it’s even better.”
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