Eddie Larcom took a second-quarter reverse toward the left sideline and Montgomery defenders soon swarmed in. Just as they did, the Canton senior made a terrific cut back toward daylight and once there could not be touched, going 38 yards for a touchdown.
It was the latest in what has been a series of highlight plays Larcom has produced this season and it was one that helped Canton beat Montgomery, 49-27 Saturday. The versatile two-way starter also caught an 80-yard touchdown pass and returned an interception 50 yards from the 1-yard line, repeatedly breaking tackles while navigating a broken field.
It is hard to believe that just a year ago, Larcom was conquering hills, handling sometimes tricky courses and blowing past cross country runners. After playing football most of his life, Larcom ran cross country for a season and enjoyed a stellar fall campaign. But now he has returned to his true love.
Eddie Larcom (2) is averaging 12.2 yards per rush and 27.4 yards per catch for Canton.
Canton is grateful. During a year when injuries have ravaged a team and ended eight players' seasons, Larcom has been outstanding in all facets and has helped the gutty Warriors win their last two games.
"It's been a blast. I really missed it," Larcom said. "I worked out during the summer. About halfway through the summer I decided to play and it just came back to me."
Larcom provided a glimpse of things to come in his first game back. After having not played in two years, Larcom returned a second-quarter interception for a touchdown against Muncy and added another interception later in the half. He might have competed in a different sport last year, but Larcom never forgot how to play football.
One of only two Canton seniors still playing, Larcom has become a shut-down cornerback. He has five interceptions and most teams have simply avoided throwing the ball near his vicinity. Larcom has been so effective that receivers have caught only two passes against him all year-and he tipped one of those.
"I like the fact that people know they can't really throw against me," Larcom said. "Most teams go to the other side and I take pride in that."
Larcom has been electrifying offensively too. He is a big play waiting to happen, scoring six times while averaging 12.2 yards per rush and 27.4 yards per catch. Fast, shifty and tough, Larcom brings excitement to the game whenever he touches the ball. He even threw a 25-yard touchdown pass in his only attempt this season, hitting Noah Barnett in stride for a 25-yard score against South Williamsport.
Larcom has only one game remaining, but it is a big one. Canton travels to archrival Troy Friday and competes for The Old Shoe. Canton has won six straight in the series and Larcom has a chance to be part of a team that becomes the first to ever win seven in a row.
These are the games Larcom came back to play in. These are the games that make it all worthwhile.
"I feel like we haven't even hit our peak yet. I think next week is the best peak," Larcom said. "We're trying to make history."
Canton football coaches and fans are happy Larcom's cross country career is now history too.
HISTORY MAKER: Taking a page from Larcom's script, Colton Harer has had a remarkable year after not playing last year. The year off did little to diminish Harer's ability and the senior is now having the greatest receiving season in Montgomery history. Harer built on his spectacular season Saturday, catching 11 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The tall, speedy slot man scored on 53 and 74-yard passes and was great on special teams as well, totaling 376 yards.
"After (Saturday) there's no question he's had the best receiving year in program history," Montgomery coach Randy Boone said. He's been unbelievable. I'm proud of him and the whole offense."
Harer leads all District 4 receivers with 66 catches for 794 yards and six touchdowns. He has been brilliant the last two weeks, catching 24 passes. He has lined up all over the field, playing receiver, running back and quarterback at various times while also returning kicks and punts. Harer opened his season with a strong all-around performance, returning both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown.
Whatever this young team that usually dresses between 16 and 18 players, has needed Harer has provided. He is having one of the best all-around seasons in program history and has totaled 1,577 yards.
"I wouldn't be able to do it without the blocking," Harer said. "I'm glad that I was part of this team."
His teammates are just as happy having him on their side.
QUICK START: All week, Lewisburg players heard the same thing. Time after time coach Jeremy Winn reminded them that they had started slow all season, including in a 16-15 Week 8 loss to Central Columbia. The Green Dragons trailed that game 9-0 early and Winn had enough of these sluggish starts.
His players will not be hearing about those this week.
Lewisburg scored on all four first-half possessions and never punted while opening a 28-point lead and pounding Loyalsock, 49-26 on its home field last Friday. The Dragons put together four impressive scoring drives and, except for a brief fourth-quarter scare, the outcome was never really in doubt.
"Coach stressed all week that people kept asking him, 'what are you going to do about those slow starts?" linebacker/running back Brandon Smith said. "They were saying, 'you can't start out slow, it's hurting you in the whole scheme of the game,' and we got tired of hearing that. The team got fired up and we came ready to play from the very first play."
Lewisburg (7-2) delivered one of its best all-around performances against a fellow District 4 Class AA playoff team and opened a 28-0 halftime lead against a team that had scored 143 points during a three-game winning streak. It was a win that was as complete as it was impressive. The offense was balanced, the offensive line dominant and the defense solid.
Loyalsock made a valiant second-half comeback. It did not matter because Lewisburg finally started the way it had hoped to all season long.
"When you don't have to punt on offense there's a lot of good things happening," Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. "The first 12 passes were threw there were only two incompletions and we were able to start strong. When you can establish the run or you can establish the play-action pass it opens up a lot of other things."
EXTRA POINTS: North Penn quarterback Taylor Hillson broke the program record for passing yards in a season during Friday's 42-0 win over CMVT. Hillson threw for 209 yards and four touchdowns and now has 1,448 yards this season ... Central Mountain gained 625 yards against NTL Big School champion Athens in a 38-19 win and Drew Alexander enjoyed a career night, running for 244 yards and a touchdown ... Mark Blanchard ran for a career-high 177 yards, topping 100 yards for a third straight week as Warrior Run rallied past Wyalusing, 21-14 ... Hughesville sophomore wide receiver Clint Snyder keeps making a name for himself. Playing in a run-heavy offense, Snyder has topped 100 yards in two of his last three games, catching six passes for 118 yards and a touchdown against Troy ... Bucktail is a win away from clinching a second straight winning season and has a shot at reaching the postseason for a third straight year after pounding Pottsville Nativity, 46-7. The Bucks (5-3) have won three of their last four and built a 38-0 halftime lead as they dominated both lines of scrimmage. Chuck Probst caught two passes for 50 yards, intercepted a pass and returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown ... Milton quarterback Brady Chappell topped 1,000 yards for a second straight year in a 31-17 comeback win over Jersey Shore.
Dr. Masse's area top five
1. South Williamsport (8-1): The Mounties made quick work of Cowanesque Valley, winning 43-12 after scoring 37 points in the game's first 10 minutes, 40 seconds. South clinched a share of the NTL Small School championship and will win it outright for the first time if it beats Montgomery Friday. Andrew Gipe did something that rarely is seen returning a punt 99 yards for a touchdown while Tyler Jenkins continued his strong play on the defensive line and returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. South is having its best season since 1999 and will host a District 4 Class A playoff game if it beats Montgomery and Tri-Valley downs Line Mountain. The Mounties have won five straight and are playing their best football at the right time.
2. Lewisburg (7-2): Quarterback Nick Costigliola quietly has been one of the district's most effective passers in his first year starting. The junior completed 14 of 19 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown against Loyalsock, completing eight straight at one point. He topped 1,000 yards and now has 10 touchdown passes with just three interceptions in 150 attempts. Still, if it was not for a player who delivered a career performance, it would have been the Dragon offensive line that collectively won Player of the Week. Alex Stamrack, Jonathan Miller, Brandon Benfer, Jamison Bond and Kyle Santorine were brilliant and drove defenders off the ball all night. If that unit keeps playing that well, Lewisburg could be tough to beat.
3. Montoursville (6-3): One knows Montoursville has an explosive offense when it produces a 200-yard passer and two 100-yard rushers. That is what the Warriors did in their 52-21 mauling of Mifflinburg. The offensive line is jelling and Montoursville has scored 97 points in consecutive wins while hurting defenses with the run and the pass. Clay Stoner topped 100 yards for a sixth time and surpassed 1,000 yards while quarterback Aaron Cole threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Cole has six touchdowns the last two weeks and Cameron Karschner and Garrett Evans are quality targets. The Warriors hit a bump in the road at midseason but are surging at the perfect time. They have weapons all over the field and could be trouble in districts.
4. Loyalsock (5-4): Senior captain Aaron Hepburn is one of the area's all-around players and losing him to injury just four plays into Friday's game was a devastating blow. Hepburn has more than 100 tackles, has a nose for the ball, makes his teammates better and also is a quality blocker on the offensive line. The Lancers are hoping to have him back Friday at Montoursville.
"You can't lose a player who is a two-way starter, a captain and your leading tackler with 100 tackles against a team with Brandon Smith and be able to operate at the same level," Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said. "He's a special player."
5. Muncy (6-3): The Indians recorded a huge road win Friday, beating playoff competitor Sayre, 21-14. Muncy moved the ball well through the air and on the ground and the defense made timely stops. The offensive line was challenged and responded with a big performance and the Indians clinched a winning season. Bloomsburg upsetting Danville likely secured the fourth and final spot in the District 4 Class A field but the Indians likely will be the Eastern Conference's top seed if they beat Hughesville Friday, something they have not done since 2000. Troy Hembury ran for 163 yards against Sayre and topped 1,000 yards. Quarterback Anthony Barberio played a quality game too, accounting for all three touchdowns and throwing for 134 yards. He needs 11 yards to reach 1,000.
Player of the Week
Matt Krezmer, Montoursville: He is not just a short-yardage back and an excellent blocker. Krezmer proved how versatile and dangerous he is Friday, playing the best game of his scholastic career. The hard-nosed senior ran for 166 yards on just 11 carries and caught three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Krezmer produced big plays nearly every time he touched the ball and gives Montoursville another weapon in a powerful offense.
Game of the Week
Loyalsock at Montoursville: This is the area's best rivalry and features friends separated by just a creek who have been playing against each other for years going at it under the Friday Night lights. This is a game players from both sides always dream about playing in and Friday at Memorial Stadium they get that opportunity. Both teams are playoff-bound and just go back to 2007 when both met in the district semifinals in an epic game to understand how great it is when both are district title contenders.
"They're going to go after each other and it's going to be a heck of a game," Van Fleet said. "It's Loyalsock vs. Montoursville. There's not much else you have to say."