Lippincott, Ortiz lead GN to important road win at Canton
Tony Ortiz takes off on a 49-yard run during first half action in Canton. "GN" beat the Warriors by a 28-15 score behind a 297-yard effort from Ortiz. Picture by Marianne Killackey.
CANTON - Gilbert/Northwestern has difference makers in John Lippincott and Tony Ortiz and it's no surprise that they made all the difference Saturday in a huge road win.
Lippincott ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and Ortiz had a big game on the ground and provided a back-breaking touchdown to lead the Yellowjackets to a 28-15 victory over Canton.
Coming off a bye week, GN improves to 5-1 on the season and stays right in the thick of the Class M playoff hunt. The Yellowjackets are sixth in Class M with five games to play, including a huge showdown with Avon next Saturday.
Canton was game but ultimately made too many mistakes to win a game of this magnitude and dropped to 4-1 on the season.
After a scoreless first quarter the game essentially came down to Lippincott and Ortiz making plays on offense and the Yellowjacket defense bending but rarely breaking.
Lippincott and Ortiz hooked up for the game's first score, a 17-yard TD pass that gave the Yellowjackets a 7-0 lead with 7:20 left in the first half. Lippincott extended the lead to 14-0 with a tough three-yard TD run with 2:15 left in the first half to give GN a 14-0 lead which it would take into the break.
GN had the momentum going into the half and kept it to start the third quarter. A 44-yard run by Ortiz gave the Yellowjackets a first down at the Canton 16 and three plays later Lippincott called his own number from five yards out to make it 20-0.
"Tony was our best option running the football today and John played a good game for us. We need those two to make plays for us and they did today," GN coach Scott Salius said.
With it's back against the wall, Canton woke up. The Warriors started their next drive at the 40 and drove 60-yards for a TD, the last 16 covered on a run by Terrance Brophy to cut the lead to 20-7 with 7:45 left in the third.
Canton then got a stop, holding GN on 4th and 4 from near midfield and went back to work on the ground. The Warriors had a first down at the 15 before GN's Nick Pedrolini recovered a fumble at the 10 to stop the drive.
Ortiz then delivered the play of the game.
Taking a handoff, Ortiz found a little room to his left and broke a tackle. He hurdled another Canton defender and broke free of one more tackle before winning a footrace down the GN sideline for a 90-yard score. Seth Dayton ran in the two-point conversion and GN had regained the momentum while taking a 28-7 lead.
"We rode Tony Ortiz's back today on offense," Salius said. "He ran for nearly 300 yards and really made some big plays for us."
"I just got some room and got some good blocking," Ortiz said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and that we had to come out and play hard and play physical. I got some great blocks today, from the line, the fullbacks and I was able to find some room to run."
Canton closed out the scoring on a 43-yard TD pass from Eric Scott to Keith Wilson with 6:02 to play, but that was as close as the Warriors would get.
"We made too many mistakes and just didn't convert enough of our chances to win a game against a good team like GN," Canton coach Paul Philippon said. "That's a tough, well coached team and we played hard, but we didn't play well enough to win. Give them credit, they did."