By TONY STINNETT
Courier Sports Editor
BAXTER - Cannon County put up a valiant fight but it wasn’t enough to secure victory in a 44-22 setback in the season finale at Upperman Friday.
The Lions (0-10) were thinking upset when Ethan Smith intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown with 10:55 remaining in the first half. Simon Morey’s extra point failed but the Lions were within 7-6.
“We had momentum and we had some things going our way but then we let it get away from us there at the end of the quarter,” said Cannon County offensive coordinator T.J. Daniel. “I thought our players put great effort into the game and trying to execute what we had worked on throughout the week. The effort was there but it just wasn’t enough. Our kids fought until the end, and I’m proud of that.”
Cannon County’s defense held the Bees (4-6) at bay for most of the first half. B.J. Daniel led the charge with 16 tackles, including 12 solo. Jonathan Smith also finished a strong season on a high note with 12 tackles. Ryan McLaurine and Dalton Ryan also had strong defensive efforts.
Upperman pulled away with five touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 38-6 halftime lead, but the Lions made it interesting.
Quarterback Cody Petro connected with heralded freshman tight end Bo Bryson for a 39-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Hawk Love powered in for the two-point conversion.
Bryson caught three passes on the scoring drive and finished it with power running after the catch.
After a three-and-out, Cannon County struck again.
This time, Petro did it himself on a well-designed option play. Petro made the read, kept the pigskin and outraced defenders 50 yards for the touchdown.
Love added the two-point conversion to pull the Lions to within 44-22.
Cannon County’s defense came up with another stop; however, time ran out on the spirited Cannon County comeback effort.