Knights outlast stubborn St. Matt's team for shot at third straight
quarterback Juan Nava gets taken down from behind during the second quarter of
the Tier 1 semi-final against the St. Matthew Tigers on Tuesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
St. Peter Knights junior and senior football teams will be vying for high school
football supremacy this weekend after they managed to win their respective semi-final
games in vastly different fashions on Tuesday.
While the junior Knights completely overwhelmed the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Lancers
in cruising to a 54-0 win in the early game, the senior team had their hands full
against an opportunistic St. Matthew Tiger team that refused to give up and very
nearly pulled off the major upset.
Knights jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after Derrick Chow picked off St. Matts
quarterback James Ryan on the Tigers first series of the game.
returned the ball to the Tigers 20 yard line where Knights pivot Juan Nava
handed the ball off two straight times to Isaiah Harris. The second carry was
a 15-yard counter to the end zone marker for the major.
23-yard pass from Nava to Emmerson Curran on the Knights third series of the game
would set up a 32-yard field goal by Sean Decloux to give the Knights a 9-0 lead
heading into the second quarter.
the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their next series, they punted the
ball downfield where it was mishandled by the Knights return man and recovered
by St. Matts. The Tigers immediately took advantage of the situation, striking
for a 30-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Mac Wakefield on first down. The extra
point attempt was blocked by Christian Lawrence making the score 9-6 in favour
of the Knights.
the ensuing kick-off, Dennis Gagné returned the ball 61-yards to the Tigers
30-yard line to set up a 21-yard field goal by Decloux which extended the Knights
lead to 12-6.
defending city champions went up 18-6 on a seven yard run by Harris which was
set up by 27-yard pass from Nava to Dennis Gagne. Decloux added the extra point
to give the Knights a 19-6 lead.
Wakims second interception of the half interrupted the Tigers next possession
and led to Declouxs third field goal of the game to give the Knights a 22-6
Tigers narrowed the deficit to 22-12 early in the third quarter on a spectacular
pass and run play from Ryan to Wakefield that covered 80 yards.
Matts had an opportunity to make it a seven point game late in the third
quarter, but the 17-yard field goal attempt by Tom Cunningham barely made it off
less than two minutes to go in the game, the Tigers found lightning in a bottle
once against as Ryan hooked up with Wakefield for a third time on a 44-yard pass
down the right sideline to narrow the deficit to just four points.
successful onside kick would make the remaining 1:12 interesting, but the Knights
defence had had enough and stopped the Tigers dead in their tracks to preserve
the game, a subdued Jim Mick lamented his teams play in the second half
while pointing to the many positives the Knights exhibited during the first two
quarters of the game.
game never should have been that close. I thought we played a great in the first
half and then we lost Isaiah for awhile and guys started missing their blocks
and taking a bunch of penalties and we let them get back in the game. They had
three big plays, thats it, said the Knights head coach.
finished the game with 48 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns, Stephen Dalekos
ran the ball six times fo 30 yards, and Decloux was three for three in the field
provided all the fireworks for the Tigers with four receptions for 161 yards three
of which were for majors of 30, 80 and 44 yards.
only thing that stands between the Knights and a third straight senior boys city
championship are the Ashbury Colts who had to comeback to beat the St. Mark Lions
26-24 in Tuesdays other semi-final.
Colts beat the Knights 6-3 on Oct. 22 in a game in which the usually reliable
Decloux missed three field goal attempts, including one from 35 yards out with
five seconds remaining in the goal.
junior and senior teams will be vying for their respective city championships
at the same time for the second straight year. While the senior team won their
title last year, the junior squad was upset by the St. Matthew Tigers. The year
before they missed the playoffs after having to forfeit their six wins for mistakeningly
using an ineligible player.
2:30 p.m., Nov. 10)
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