Canistota rolls to third straight title, earns 36th straight winVERMILLION — Another year, another rout. For the third consecutive year, Canistota claimed a state high school football championship, defeating previously unbeaten Warner (11-1) 52-8 Thursday to earn its second consecutive state 9A title. It’s also the Hawks’ third straight state championship.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
VERMILLION — Another year, another rout.
For the third consecutive year, Canistota claimed a state high school football championship, defeating previously unbeaten Warner (11-1) 52-8 Thursday to earn its second consecutive state 9A title. It’s also the Hawks’ third straight state championship.
In 2010, Canistota won the school’s first football title, cruising past Hitchcock-Tulare 66-0 in Class 9B. Last year, the Hawks repeated as state champions with a 66-6 win over Wall for the 9A title. In the three-year run, Canistota has outscored teams 180-14 in championship contests.
“Everything has seemed to bounce our way the last three years,” said Canistota head coach Lenny Schroeder, who has led the school to 36 consecutive victories, going 12-0 each season.
From the very first whistle, Canistota was in control of the game and, at times, looked to be running a track meet instead of playing a football game. The Hawks’ offense reeled off big play after big play on the ground and through the air.
“We haven’t had to throw the football a whole lot, but we knew we could and in here with the space and the speed on the turf. We just wanted to put our kids in positions where they could be successful and (quarterback) Cody (Bunger) got the ball where it needed to go,” Schroeder said.
Canistota made quick work of its first drive as it completed a six-play, 31-yard drive capped off by fullback Eric Tieszen’s 2-yard touchdown run. The score was set up when the Hawks intercepted Warner to give the offense a short field.
The Hawks’ offense, led by offensive player of the game quarterback Cody Bunger and running back Alex Robertson, continued to be virtually unstoppable for the rest of the half, scoring 34 points on its first five drives before Warner offense answered with a 45-yard bomb from the arm of quarterback Clay Rozell to running back Mitchell Boesl with 24 seconds to go before halftime.
“(Warner) is a great team and we wanted to shut down their momentum really fast and we did that,” said Bunger, who finished the game with 255 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air. “We felt like even if you get up by a lot early, the other team can come back, so you’ve got to keep pounding them.”
Two of the quarterback’s TD passes were hauled in by wide receiver Nick Hofer, who caught seven balls for 194 yards. Robertson accounted for 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Jason Van Winkle was named the game’s outstanding lineman.
As impressive as the Canistota offense was, it was the Hawks’ defense was also inspiring.
Warner’s offense tried to get going in the second half by passing the ball and had some success, but the Monarchs ultimately were stymied by a stingy Canistota defense that forced three interceptions, all by Bunger. The Monarch offense had 252 total yards for the game and only found the end zone once.
“Our defense played extraordinary again,” Schroeder said. “I mean, Warner is pretty good. They’ve got some great athletes, but we didn’t back down. We just kept playing. James Strang is our defensive coordinator, and he has been our defensive coordinator for the past three years. He has done a tremendous job with these kids. Every week we get a different challenge and he does a very good job at getting kids to believe in our system.”
In addition to being named offensive player of the game, Bunger was named MVP of the game for his efforts on both sides of the ball. He finished the game with 333 yards of total offense and had the three interceptions, including one in the end zone to stop a potential Warner touchdown.
Thursday was the second straight year the quarterback led the Hawks to a state title.
“It’s my senior year,” he said. “I am glad I can finish it off with a great ending and it means the world to me to help us win this game.”
Five records in a 9A championship game were set, including two by Bunger, named the Joe Robbie MVP. Bunger set a record for net yards passing (294) and total offense (318). Bunger also had three interceptions defensively.
Canistota set team records for net yards passing (327), first downs by pass(11) and tied the record for first downs (26). Hofer also set the record for most receiving yards with 195.
CANISTOTA 52, WARNER 8
Warner 0 8 0 0 — 8
Canistota 12 22 6 12 — 52
CAN—Tieszen 2 run (run failed), 8:35.
CAN—Robertson 28 run (kick failed), 5:24.
CAN—Hofer 17 pass from Bunger (DeKramer pass from Bunger), 11:55.
CAN—Hofer 39 pass from Bunger (Tieszen run), 11:46.
CAN—DeKramer 39 pass from Bunger (run failed), 3:58.
WAR—Boesl 45 pass from Rozell (Rozell run), :24.
CAN—Rieszen 1 run (pass failed), 4:07.
CAN—Robertson 5 run (run failed), 8:25.
CAN—Nielsen 43 run (pass failed), 3:33.
RUSHING—Warner, Rozell 17-43, Peck 4-25, Boesl 9-20, Young 2-3, Braun 2-2, Tuszka 1-1, Heilman 1-(minus 1). Canistota, Robertson 18-129, Tieszen 7-44, Nielsen 1-43, N.Hofer 2-33, Bunger 11-24, DeKramer 1-7, Jolley 1-6, C.Hofer 1-3. .
PASSING—Warner, Rozell 14-23-3-157. Canistota, Bunger 12-13-0-294, Jolley 1-1-0-33.
REIVING—Warner, Boesl 5-120, D.Tuszka 2-21, J. Tuszka 4-12, Easton 1-2, Ochsner 2-2. Canistota, N.Hofer 7-195, DeKramer 2-5-7, Seubert 2-34, Nielsen 1-33, Robertson 1-8.