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With all of the playmakers in the lineups for Canisius and McKinley, their matchup at All High Stadium Friday night figured to be explosive.
It was. But only for Canisius.
A crowd of about 2,000 watched Canisius, ranked seventh in The News large school poll, roll to a a 26-6 lead after one quarter and a 42-12 advantage at halftime as it romped to a 55-30 victory over No. 6 McKinley.
The Crusaders shrugged off their close call at St. Mary's last week - a 30-27 win - right from the start.
"We were very motivated - we started slow last week and let them hang around," said 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior running back Qadree Ollison, who had 122 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. "Pretty much the game plan was to come out fast. We played a great game."
Junior quarterback Tyler Mascio was 9 of 17 for 261 yards passing with two touchdowns while Canisius took advantage of McKinley mistakes to break the game open early.
"We really wanted to put the emphasis on starting fast and we did that," said Canisius coach Rich Robbins. "We got them on their heels early and we were able to kind of separate in the first quarter. It was about us getting back to playing Canisius football. We're a good football team that had a bad day last weekend."
Canisius sustained a long opening drive before Ollison went up the middle for a 3-yard score and a 6-0 lead with 8:23 left in the opening quarter. After a McKinley fumble, Canisius got a great 53-yard reverse run for a score by senior Kyle Abernathy. The Crusaders scored again just 14 seconds later. McKinley botched a kickoff, then Mascio rolled to his left under serious pressure and unleashed a pass just before he was hit that senior Denzel Benton reeled in for a 32-yard score and a 19-0 lead.
A poor punt for McKinley - which actually went backwards - set up Canisius with a short field and Mascio took a shotgun snap and ran in for a 7-yard score for a 26-0 lead with 3:37 left in the opening quarter.
McKinley cut the lead to 26-12 on a 76-yard pass from junior Jamar Rutledge to senior Stephon Johnson and a 4-yard pass from senior Reyzon Jordan to senior Dae'Quan Warren, but Canisius closed the quarter with two scores of its own. Canisius had a third-and-10 at its 45 when Mascio planted and delivered a nice pass to the left side, where Benton caught it on a slant pattern and sped away for a 34-12 Canisius lead with 2:55 left in the half.
On McKinley's next series, Rutledge was grabbed from behind as he threw, leading the ball to sail. Senior linebacker Dan Minogue intercepted and returned it 45 yards down the left side for a touchdown and a 42-12 rout with 1:44 left before halftime.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Canisius recovered another muffed kickoff and soon after Ollison added a 2-yard run for a 48-12 lead. Reserves played the rest of the game.
It was the third straight week that a Monsignor Martin team beat a Section VI opponent. Bishop Timon-St. Jude opened the season with a 21-14 win at Williamsville South and last week, St. Joe's routed an undermanned Bennett team at All High, 43-14.

email: kmcshea@buffnews.com