Volume 10 Week 10

Tuesday, Nov. 6


Posted Dec. 16

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




Senior Boys Football
St. Peter Knights fall short in bid to return to National Capital Bowl

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The St. Peter Knights road to the National Capital Bowl hit a dead end on Saturday at the hands of the Sydenham Golden Eagles who came up with a big play when it mattered to beat the defending champions 21-7 at Minto Field in Nepean.

Both teams were missing a key player heading into the OFSAA regional semi-final. The Knights had to play without the services of kicker Sean Decloux who is playing in the Super-Y League North American soccer championships as a member of the Ottawa Fury U-17 team.

The Golden Eagles were missing 6-foot-4, 215 lb. all-star quarterback Steve Knapton who suffered a broken collar bone in the NCB quarterfinal against the St. Joseph's Pirates of Cornwall on Tuesday.

His replacement, Brett Irwin, didn't waste any time filling Knapton's cleats, connecting with Ben Fisher for a 69-yard touchdown pass on their opening series to give Sydenham an early 7-0 lead..

The Golden Eagles added a single on a mishandled punt in the second quarter to take an 8-0 into half-time.

Except for the one big touchdown play, both teams' defences did an excellent job keeping the other team's offence in check. A strong northwesterly wind forced the Knights to keep the ball on the ground which prevented them from mounting a sustained drive.

A St. Peter single off a Corey Constantini punt provided the only scoring in the third quarter while narrowing the deficit to a converted touchdown.

Down 8-1, the Knights manufactured their best drive off the game early in the fourth quarter behind the determined running of power back Isaiah Harris and a 25-yard pass from quarterback Juan Nava to Dennis Gagné.

The pair would hook up again on five plays later on a third and goal play from the eight-yard line. With a trio of defenders bearing down on him, Nava tossed the ball high into the air and into Gagné's open arms.

What came next would prove to be the TSN turning point of the game. Needing the extra point to tie the game, the Knights were called for having too many men on the field which nullified Constantini's perfect convert.

On the second attempt, the Knights committed two errors. They jumped off-side and they allowed a Sydenham player to get his hand on the ball despite the head start. The blocked extra point could have been made up, the back-to-back penalties on the two attempts would prove to be fatal.

As a result of the penalties, Constantini had to kick the ball off from his 30 instead of the 45, and into the wind at that. The 30-yard kick fell into the hands of Josh Thompson who returned it to the Knights' 48-yard line.

After converting a third down and two play on the 40-yard line, the Golden Eagles found themselves in a second and 15 situation. The Knights lined up to play the run and forgot to put a man on Golden Eagles wide receiver Ollie Moyse who split out to the right.

Irwin pitched the ball out to Thompson who faked sweep before pulling up and throwing a perfect spiral to a wide open Moyse. The Golden Eagles then went for the two point conversion and failed which left the score 14-7 in favour of Sydenham with 1:44 left on the clock.

Desperate to move the ball into scoring position, the Knights went to the air. On third and two from their 53-yard line, Nava tried to find a receiver downfield only to have the ball picked off by Sydenham defensive back Hayden Peters who ran it all the way back to the end zone to put the game out of reach.

The loss negated an MVP performance by Harris who rushed for 280-yards on 37 carries. One of 30 graduating seniors on the team, the Orleans Bengals product said he felt "horrible" that the team wouldn't be able to defend the National Capital Bowl championship they win last year.

Knights head coach Jim Mick said the weather conditions prevented them from mixing things up on offence as much as they wanted to do. It also allowed the Golden Eagles to key on the run.

As for the game winning touchdown, the veteran coach said they were more worried about allowing the Golden Eagles to get within range of scoring a single on a long punt.

"They were playing the pitch all day. We knew they were going to pitch the ball (to Thompson) we just didn't expect (the halfback option). It was gutsy call and they got rewarded for it," said Mick.

Besides Harris, running mate Stephen Delakos also had a strong game as did Gagné who did an excellent job returning punts to go along with his pass receptions. The main standouts on defence were Jamaar King, Daniel Tshiamala, Tyler Yaworski and Trey Morgan.

The Knights will be looking to reload next year when they will vye for a fourth straight city championship. Among the players coming up from the junior ranks who will likely make an immediate impact are Jacob Molinski, Tyrone Pierre and Jaylen King.

(Posted 6:30 p.m., Nov. 21)

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