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Senior Boys Football
Lancers post first win of the season against
St. Matthew Tigers

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

St. Matthew Tigers quarterback Mcaulley Banning tries to escape a Sir Wilfrid Laurier tackler during the Lancers 20-17 win over the Tigers on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Lancers are no longer winless this season after they downed the St. Matthew Tigers 20-17 on Thursday in a come-from-behind victory that featured an outstanding performance by Harry Short.

Due to a lack of numbers no fewer than eight Lancers have had to play both sides of the ball this season including Short, who has the added responsibility of playing on special teams.

Short got the Lancers off to a quick start when he ran the opening kick-off back 40 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

The Tigers responded two series later when J.P Hamelin ran the ball 90 yards on a reverse. After the extra point was good the Tigers held a slim 7-6 lead.

The Lancers took the lead early in the second quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Rob Carle. The Tigers responded once again with a field goal of their own from about 23 yards out off the foot of Hamelin to go 10-9.

They improved their lead to 17-9 late in the first half on a seven yard pass from Mcaulley Banning to Steve Belliveau at the back of the end zone. It was Belliveau who actually initiated the touchdown drive when he picked off an errant pass thrown by Lancers quarterback Dustin McMahon.

Both teams defences' played extremely well in the third quarter to set up an exciting finish.

The Lancers caught a break early in the fourth quarter when punter Matt Azevedo managed to kick the ball out of bounds at St. Matt's seven yard line. A huge sack on the ensuing series meant that the Tigers had to make a decision -- either punt the ball out of their end zone and risk putting the Lancers in an excellent position, or give up a safety and kick the ball off from their 35-yard line.

The problem with giving up the safety, however, was that it would give the Lancers a chance to win the game with a converted touchdown. In the end, the Tigers decided to give up the safety and let their defence take care of business.

What resulted was a 24-yard kick return by Short and a 63-yard drive orchestrated by Banning that set up a seven yard touchdown run up the middle by Short. Fortunately for the Tigers, but unfortunately for the Lancers, Sir Wil was called for an illegal procedure on the play and the touchdown was called back.

On third and seven, the Lancers fumbled the ball on the hand-off which gave the Tigers possession on their eight-yard-line. When the Lancers' defence shut them down once again, the Tigers opted to give up another safety which make it a four point game.

The Lancers seemed fated to lose their fourth game of the season when Banning through the ball down the sideline to a leaping Merlin James who tipped the ball into the hands of the Tiger defender.

As the game approached the final minute things looked pretty bleak for the Lancers, but once again their defence prevented St. Matt's from picking up the first down and they had to punt the ball from deep in the own end.

With the minute flag flapping on the sideline, Short ran the punt back to the Tigers' 37 yard line and then ripped off three straight runs of eight, 15 and 13 yards to score the go ahead touchdown after already playing the entire game.

It was a remarkable fourth quarter performance by the Lancers who refused to give up despite repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.

"We knew we had to come home with the win. So we just kept at it," said Short who is 5-foot-6 and weighs in at a solid 165 lbs.

As for playing both sides of the ball this year, Short says he couldn't be happier with the arrangement.

"I love it. It's great being able to hit people," said Short who had the tackle of the game when he brought down a much taller and much heavier Serge Tessier in the second quarter.

After the game, Lancers' head coach Eric Kukkonen could not say enough great things about his star running back.

"Isn't he something. He's got so much heart and so much enthusiasm. He's an amazing kid," said Kukkonen who praised all of his fourth year guys including Carle, Alex Hepworth, Jeremy Seal and Brandon Blakely, all of whom played both sides of the ball along with Short.

"The boys just hung in there. The defence kept coming at them. They really won the game for us in the fourth quarter. We just need to keep getting better. At this point any team is beatable."

The Lancers will hope to continue their winning ways on Oct. 16 when they play the winless South Carleton Storm at Sir Wil. They then close out their regular season schedule on Oct. 23 against the St. Mark Lions who beat them 22-0 in their season opener on Sept. 16.

(Posted 10:30 p.m., Oct. 9)

 

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