Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Feb. 17


Team of the Month

Posted Feb. 6

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

Ontario Varsity Football
Bantam Panthers retain first place despite loss to Myers Riders
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Cumberland Panthers running back Raphael Mallouin sets up the team’s third touchdown of the game against the Myers Riders on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Lynn Gilbault

The Cumberland Panthers bantam varsity football team suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday and with it very nearly their hold on first place in the Wettges Conference.

The Panthers ran into a Myers Riders team determined to end a four-game losing streak against their rivals that included an 18-7 loss on their home field just three weeks ago. They were aided in their endeavour by strong winds that limited the Panthers' air attack especially in the first half during which their quarterback Christian Veilleux was just 4-for-8 for 52 yards.

The windy conditions aside, the Panthers did manage to strike first, scoring a touchdown early in the first quarter on run by Fabrice Mukendi.

The Riders responded with a converted touchdown on their next series capped by a run by their quarterback Jacob Dugas. They would add another touchdown in the second quarter to make the score 14-6 at the half.

After a team meeting during the break, the Panthers were hoping to prevent turn their fortunes around in the second half, but instead the Riders added to their lead on their opening driving, scorig a touchdown on a another quarterback keeper by Dugas.

An interception by Markaedyn Nelson late in the third quarter gave the Panther faithful renewed hope, but it was only fleeting as they failed to take advantage of the situation and turned the ball back over to the Riders on downs, which Myers turned into yet another touchown and a 28-6 lead.

Just as the game and first place seemed to be slipping out of their hands, the Panthers mounted a fourth quarter comeback on the arm and the legs of their quarterback Christian Veilluex who completed 10 of 18 passes in second half and ran for 66 yards on eight carries.

Veilleux threw back-to-back passes to Raphael Mallouin and Zane Teichrob to score the first touchdown and then scrambled his way through the Riders defence to score an all important major to cut the Riders' lead to 10 points. The difference was one point less than the Panthers' margin of victory in their earlier meeting this season which was enough to preserve their first place standing and home field advantage in the playoffs.

After the game, Panthers head coach Jeff Koradi put the loss in its proper perspective.

"It's only one game and we're still in first place. If we're going to lose, I'd much rather lose in the regular season than the playoffs," said Koradi. "At the end of the day we can't start a game like that aganst a team like Myers. The guys we're flying high and today we were grounded. Welcome to earth boys."

The Panthers will travel to Toronto next week to face the Metro Toronto Wildcats and then return home to close out the regular season against the Toronto Thunder on July 19.

(Posted 9 a.m., July 3)


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