The Black Knights were limited to four first downs and 97 yards of total offense in a 10-0 loss Friday night.

CANTON – The Stoughton High football team opened the season by piling up 82 points in a pair of non-league wins.

In the Hockomock League opener on Friday night, though, the Black Knights’ offense was simply unable to get anything going.

Stoughton was shut down by Canton High, dropping a 10-0 decision before a large crowd at Veterans Memorial Field in the 100th meeting between the rivals.

The Black Knights were limited to four first downs, two of them coming in the final six minutes, and they managed just 97 yards of total offense while turning the ball over three times.

“The key is we have to run the ball and eat up some clock,’’ said coach Greg Burke after his team fell to 2-1. “We had a couple of nice runs, then fumbled the ball. You can’t have it in a game like this.

“Our defense played tremendous, I thought. Not good enough offensively, obviously. That’s something we’ve got to work on. I know we’ll iron it out.’’

Canton (3-0) has given up just seven points this season, and the Bulldogs allowed Stoughton to get over the 50-yard line on one possession.

“I thought they’d be good,’’ said Canton coach Dave Bohane of his defense. “To play well against a very quality team, that maybe exceeded my expectations. We have some good speed, we have some experienced guys.’’

Stoughton had just four yards of offense in three first-quarter series, then moved to the Canton 15 on its first possession of the second quarter, getting its only two first downs of the opening three quarters.

A 33-yard run by Christian Ais brought the ball to the Bulldogs' 15, but two plays later, Matt Connolly recovered a fumble for Canton to end the threat.

Stoughton was unable to advance the ball into Bulldogs territory the remainder of the game.

“I thought we hung in there, but we fumbled,’’ said Burke. “Without having the ball, you can’t score. Hat’s off to them. They had the ball more than we did. Back to the drawing board. We’ve done well. They’re a good team.’’

Canton used a nine-play, 65-yard drive in the final two minutes of the half to break a scoreless tie and take a 7-0 lead at the break.

After receiving a punt at its own 35 with1:45 to go, the Bulldogs moved the ball in a hurry with quarterback Johnny Hagan completing passes to Gersom Rivera and Jace Emma.

On third-and-5 from the Stoughton 32, Hagan took off up the middle and made it to the 2-yard line, then scored on a 1-yard run with Owen Lehane adding the point after with 14.4 seconds left.

“They did a good job,’’ said Burke. “They scored right at the half. I was hoping we’d go in at half zip to zip. We didn’t stop their big plays. Their quarterback is the key. All week, we practiced trying to get him. It’s hard to try to duplicate him.’’

Canton’s other score with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter when Lehane kicked a 27-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs took the opening kick in the second half and ran 10 plays before James Murphy recovered a Stoughton fumble on a punt at the Black Knights' 10. Canton advanced to the 1, but a 10-yard penalty led to the field goal.

“The turnover on the punt might have been that momentum swing that every game like this has,’’ said Bohane. “I think when two teams play like this, it’s going to come down to something like that and tonight I guess you could look at the turnovers. We were fortunate to stay away from them.’’

Hagan rushed for 123 yards on 15 carries and was 9 for 19 for 77 yards through the air for the Bulldogs.

“Johnny’s one of those experienced guys, our team leader,’’ said Bohane. “He had some big runs when we needed them. He threw the ball. Passing, running, he’s obviously very effective. I think he’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached and definitely in the league. We’re very fortunate to have him as the leader of our offense.’’

Jim Fenton may be reached at jfenton@enterprisenews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.