Historic seasons make legends out of players leading their teams to success — and those records become more special with each win.
Canadian won its first-ever district title this year and finished the season without a loss for the first time behind a talented senior group and support from the community.
Cougars football coach Wes Jackson said he will forever remember the moment his team clinched the historic district title because of the players’ reactions.
“It was a surreal moment it was fun to watch the kids get excited about it because the kids are new to the idea,” Jackson said. “They didn’t realize what it would feel like and the kids had never been there before so seeing them light up was cool.”
Canadian (10-0, 5-0) also earned a top-five ranking in its class with the team’s success led the program to a home game in the first round of the playoffs — set for 7:30 p.m. Friday against Gans (4-6, 2-3). Friday’s winner advances to play at Nov. 22 against the winner between Depew (5-5, 4-1) and Watts (8-2, 3-2).
Jackson said Canadian’s goals this year were to win a district championship, and beat Wetumka and Keota for the time in the program’s history.
Canadian took wins of 20-8 against Keota and 58-12 against Wetumka on the way to the district title to check off each goal.
But Jackson said his players have to focus on themselves to continue their success.
“We evaluate ourselves more than we evaluate other teams,” Jackson said. “We talk about ‘did we go to the right spots? Are we doing the right thing on every single play?.’
“We keep pushing like that because we know we are not to our peak yet,” Jackson said.
Quarterback Carson Thompson leads the Cougars with a prolific season. He leads area rushers with 1,695 yards and 31 scores — adding 1,682 passing yards for 24 touchdowns.
Jackson said Thompson can make adjustments on the field like he is reading his coach’s mind and has led Canadian off the field.
“He’s stepped up in multiple roles on and off the field,” Jackson said. “He’s a leader and kind of a guide for us. He’s been at the front of everything we do and pushing kids off the field as well as on the field. He does everything we ask him to do.”
Jackson credited the offensive line — Trett Yandell, Isaac Tanner and Tyler King — and the receiving corps — led by four-year starter Terrell Crawford and Jake Brewster.
The coach said Canadian’s defense, which leads the area in allowing just 143.1 yards per game, also played a huge role in Canadian’s success this year.
“We produce quite a few turnovers and our turnover ratio is pretty good,” Jackson said. “Our guys are playing well at the right time of the year.”