VAN — Forty-two unanswered points by the Van Vandals kept their perfect season alive Friday night at Van Memorial Stadium.

The Vandals defeated District 14-3A rival Canton, 69-28, and kept the Eagles off the scoreboard in the second half en route to the victory.

Dalton Santos led Van (7-0, 2-0) with six total touchdowns and 92 yards rushing on just five carries. Five of his scores came on the ground, with the sixth coming on a fumble recovery.

Both teams combined for five touchdowns in the first quarter. Canton received the ball first and scored on the fifth play of the opening drive. Kade Warren found Justin Richard for a 25-yard touchdown.

The Van offense wasted little time on its first drive of the contest. A pass from Garrett Smallwood to Colby Rucker for 31 yards moved the ball to the Eagles’ 1.

Santos, the Tennessee commit, took the next play into the end zone for a Vandals touchdown. Van attempted a two-point conversion, which failed due to a bad snap.

Canton (4-3, 1-1) answered right back with a hurry-up offense. The Eagles moved the ball down the field with a combination of pass and run plays, and scored on the 13th play of the drive.

Warren found Richard on third-and-10 from the Vandals’ 11 for the Eagles’ second score of the game.

The scoring parade continued with an answer from Van. The Vandals scored in seven plays on another running touchdown by Santos. Smallwood passed for 49 yards and ran for another 19 yards on the drive.

Canton looked poised to score again on the following drive, moving the ball to the Vandals’ 27. But a fumbled snap on first down led to a Santos 70-yard touchdown on the fumble recovery. The extra point gave Van a 20-14 lead.

The Eagles, however, did not let the turnover affect them and regained the lead on the ensuing drive. Canton picked up a first down on a fourth-and-5 on a run by Warren, who hit Stephen Malouf on a 36-yard touchdown pass on the next play.

The offensive showcase slowed down from there. The teams traded a few possessions to begin the second quarter until Van struck again with 4:14 to play until halftime on another score by Santos.

Canton refused to go away and returned the following kickoff 90 yards for the score. But another score by Van gave them a 34-28 lead at the half.

Van flexed its muscles in the second half, scoring 28 points in the third quarter and keeping Canton from scoring. The Vandals lost a fumble on the first play of the half, but a 96-yard interception return by Rigo Lemus ended the Eagles’ drive.

Santos scored on the Vandals’ next two possessions, with one coming on a 58-yard run to extend the Vandals’ lead to 55-28. Van ended the quarter with a 75-yard interception return by Chuy Alverez.

Van scored its final touchdown of the game with 7:25 to play on a run by Casey Smith. The Vandals forced the Eagles to punt on their next possession and ran several minutes off the clock before punting. Canton finished the game with the ball and ran out the remaining few minutes.

Smallwood led the Vandals with 248 yards through the air and 140 yards rushing on 14 carries. Colby Rucker reeled in nine catches for 109 yards.

Canton quarterback Warren completed 19 passes for 226 yards. He also ran for 64 yards. Sumner followed with 56 yards on the ground. Stephen Malouf led the Eagles with 59 receiving yards. 

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