Canton and Gilmer have cancelled their scheduled football season-opener a week after QB G.J. Kinne withdrew from Canton and enrolled at Gilmer. The game was originally scheduled as part of the East Texas Classic to be played Aug. 31 in Tyler.
Kinne's transfer came after an emotional year in which Kinne's father, former Canton coach Gary Joe Kinne, was shot in the school fieldhouse by a parent of another Canton player. Jeff Robertson has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting.
Coach Kinne spent a year recovering from critical internal injuries but did return to coach Canton to a school best Class 3A regional final. But Coach Kinne left in January to become an assistant at his alm mater, Baylor. With one year of eligibility remaining, G.J. Kinne opted to transfer to Gilmer. the family cited safety concerns at Canton High School.
Canton's new football coach Lance Angel requested out of the Gilmer contract because of all the emotions surrounding Kinne's departure. Angel was named in February to replace Gary Joe Kinne as Canton football coach.
From Dave Stephenson of TITUS Sports Marketing, who is sponsoring the East Texas Classic:
"We are disappointed that Canton did not fulfill its commitment to us to participate in the 2006 East Texas Football Classic. It would have been a classic matchup and one that we were eager to see after their great playoff game in Tyler last fall. We now have to turn our attention at this late date to finding an opponent for Gilmer -- which should again be one of the top schools in Class 3A."
The Canton-Gilmer matchup was expected to draw a capacity crowd of 12,000 in Tyler when it was set in February. G.J. Kinne and Canton defeated then defending state champ Gilmer in a record-setting, 61-58, thriller in last year's playoffs.Kinne, considered one of the country's top quarterback prospects, passed for 3,859 yards and 41 TDs as a junior. He is expected to solidify Gilmer's chances to make a strong run at a state championship. Kinne will team with WR Curtis Brown, a highly regarded Texas commitment.