St. Peter Knights fall short in bid to return to National Capital
By Fred Sherwin
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.
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.
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.
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..
Golden Eagles added a single on a mishandled punt in the second quarter to take
an 8-0 into half-time.
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
St. Peter single off a Corey Constantini punt provided the only scoring in the
third quarter while narrowing the deficit to a converted touchdown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
6:30 p.m., Nov. 21)
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