The Student News Site of Plymouth-Canton Educational Park

The Perspective

The Student News Site of Plymouth-Canton Educational Park

The Perspective

The Student News Site of Plymouth-Canton Educational Park

The Perspective

Party like it’s 1999: Rocks edge out Chiefs 21-14

Ed Wright
Salem Athletic Director, TIm Baechler, celebrates with the Rocks Varsity Football Team. Oct. 6, 2023.


On Oct. 6, 2023, the Salem Rocks brought down Canton for the first time since Oct. 22, 1999. The teams battled back and forth, but the Rocks prevailed ending the 24-year drought bringing the Sandman Cummings Trophy back to Salem High School.

The coldest Friday night of the season to date, accompanied with steady rainfall, created immense difficulties on the offensive side of the ball. Canton head coach, Casey Bess, joked, “It is what it is; we live in the state of Michigan.”

Senior Brayden Alexander passes to a receiver down field. Oct. 6, 2023. (Ed Wright)

Canton took an early lead in the first quarter when senior Devon Pettus broke three tackles on his way to the endzone for a 28-yard score. 

Early in the second quarter, the Rocks scored a touchdown of their own. Senior Gavin Morrison showed off his speed beating his defender on a go-route for 65-yards down the sideline, tying the game up at seven. Regarding the touchdown, after the game Morrison said, “I just beat the crap outta that kid.”

Going into the second half, the Chiefs held a 14-7 lead over the Rocks. 

All season, the Rocks have had no problem keeping games close in the first half. With just 23 players on the Rock’s varsity team, however, their depth has been an issue. With many players playing on both sides of the ball, by the second half, the Rocks often have fallen apart with fatigue.

However, the Rocks were inspired going into the game against Canton. They knew what a win would mean for their fans, friends and family alike.

Coming out of the locker room energized, junior Aidan Moore laid the groundwork for the rest of the game with a 30-yard kick return.

Salem tied the game at 14 with 2:58 left in the third quarter when Salem Head Coach Landon Garrett

Junior Aidan Moore holds the Sandman Cummings Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Canton versus Salem game each year, with Salem Athletic Trainer Ibraheem Mutahr. Oct. 6, 2023. (Lucas Gentilia)

called for a trick play to have senior quarterback, Brayden Alexander, pitch the ball to his running back, Moore, who then made a near-impossible throw to the opposite end of the field to senior Azarius Hayes in the endzone, who caught the ball over his defender’s head.

Then with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs had a chance to take the lead on the Salem 8-yard line. Instead of taking a 3-point lead with a 25-yard field goal, Bess decided to go for the touchdown on fourth down. Salem sophomore, Nye Turner, sacked Canton junior Devvin Calhoun to get the ball back for the Rocks on fourth down.

Starting on their own eight, the Rocks took it 92-yards aided by a 70-yard run by Moore. Senior Owen Anderson capped off the drive to beating Canton senior Michael Edelman down the sideline and into the endzone for the go-ahead 28-yard touchdown.

With just over a minute left, the Chiefs were right back where they were before in the red zone, this time on the Rock’s 7. On another fourth down, the Chiefs went for the TD. Yet again, the Rocks got the big stop, this time from junior Rocco Spica at the 1-yard line. 

As the clock ran down to zero, the Rocks players and remaining fans rejoiced in unison, realizing that Canton had finally fallen.

“That’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life with the Salem Rocks,” said Alexander. “1999, not anymore.”

Garrett couldn’t have been happier with his team. 

“I’ve known all year what these guys [Rocks players] can do,” said Garrett. “It’s amazing to see these guys play as family and brothers and keep swinging and swinging until the end.”

The scoreboard at the P-CEP Varsity Stadium displays the final score of the Salem versus Canton game. Oct. 6, 2023. (lucas Gentilia)
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About the Contributor
lucas Gentilia, Business Manager / Sports Editor
Lucas Gentilia is a senior at Salem High School that loves being surrounded by friends and other energetic people. He is involved in all types of activities, including The National Honor Society, Student Council 2024, Link Crew, the Salem Rocks Baseball Team and The Perspective newspaper staff. His life isn’t always centered around school however; he is in love with music, and always has an Airpod in his ear. He enjoys artists like Mac Miller, Mac Demarco and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, he loves weightlifting, golf and watching sports in person whenever he can.

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