effort by running back Fulton lifts Giants over Panthers
By Fred Sherwin
Gloucester Giants head coach Moe Salehe gives
a game ball to running back Scott Fulton,
who rushed for 341 yards and two touchdowns
against the Cumberland Panthers on Saturday.
a battle between the two best peewee football teams in
the city on Saturday, it was the Herculean effort of a
running back that proved to be the difference as the North
Gloucester Giants upset the two-time defending champion
Cumberland Panthers to lock up first place in the division.
Fulton carried the ball 38 times for 341 yards and two
touchdowns in leading his team to victory. He had 27 carries
for 205 yards in the second half alone. In fact, Fulton
carried the ball on every Giants' play in the second half
save for the final play of the game which was a nine-yard,
game-winning touchdown toss from Noah Allen to Raphael
made Fulton's performance so remarkable is that anyone
and everyone who was at the Gil-O-Julien Field knew he
was going to get the ball, including the Panthers coaches
and the entire defence, and they still only managed to
stop him twice -- once on a third and five play in the
third quarter and again on a third and goal play from
the five yard line. On both plays he came up just inches
short. On every other player he lowered his head and ran
full steam ahead into the heart of the Panthers' front
one series he had nine consecutive carries, each one more
punishing than the last. As an OVFL all-star middle linebacker
for the Panthers' summer bantam varsity team, Fulton was
feared for dishing out bone crunching tackles. On Saturday,
he was delivering bone crunching hits from the other side
of the lone of scrimmage.
game was one of the most highly anticipated on the National
Capital Amateur Football Association calendar. Half of
the Panthers starting offence played on the bantam varsity
team, as did half of the Giants starting defence.
two head coaches, Jeff Koradi for the Panthers and Moe
Salehe for the Giants are both very good friends having
coached together on the varsity team. They are also passionate
rivals. Salehe was the head coach of the Orleans Bengals
team that upset Koradi and the Panthers in the 2013 NCAFA
A-Cup semi-finals. Before Satuday, it was the only loss
that Koradi and many of the core second year players on
the Panthers had suffered in the past six seasons.
into the game they were a combined 59-1 since 2010 with
four A-Cup championships to their credit, If they want
to win a fifth championship in November they will have
to find a way to stop Fulton, assuming the two teams make
it to the final, which will be held at Millennium Park.
Given the wet and muddy conditions at Gil-O-Julien on
Saturday, that should work out in the Panthers favour.
all-star running back Fabrice Mukendi had all kinds of
trouble with the conditions on Saturday. He was unable
to change directions on a dime as he can on artificial
turf and it slowed him down considerably along with the
Giants defence which is the best D-unit the Panthers have
ever faced at the NCAFA level.
game itself was a nail-biting, emotionally draining, suspense
Cumberland Panthers defence had their hands
full against North Gloucester Giants running
back Scott Fulton on Saturday. Lynn Gibault/Photo
neither team was able to much with the ball on their first
possession, Panthers quarterback Christian Veilleux hit
a wide open Jonathan Aoude for a 54-yard gain that set
up four yard touchdown pass to Maxime Dery. A two-point
convert would give the visiting Panthers the early 8-0
Giants answered back with a 65-yard drive of their own
that included a 52-yard run by Fulton on third and two
and capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from Allen to
Malouin. Unfortunately, Allen hit the upright on the two
point convert attempt which left them trailing 8-6.
second touchdown came early in the second quarter on 19-yard
pass from Veilleux to Aoude. Veilleux then ran the ball
in on the two-point convert to extend the Panthers' lead
to 16-8. The Panther QB flew through the air on the final
three yards to sneak just inside the pylon, but he injured
his shoulder on the play, which severely limited the Panthers'
passing game the rest of the way.
the change of possession, Fulton took over the game. Starting
on the Giants' 46-yard line, he carried the ball five
times, interrupted only by an incomplete pass. His fifth
carry of the series was a 34-yard tackle-busting effort
into the house to narrow the deficit to 16-12 at the half.
Giants came close to taking the lead near the end of the
third quarter but Panthers defence was able to keep Fulton
out of the end zone on third and goal from the two. The
Panthers took over possession on the one but were caught
for a safety in the end zone on their second play from
making it a two-point game, the safety gave the Giants
possession of on their own 35. What followed were runs
of 38, 28, 15, 7, 4. -3 and 4 yards by Fulton, the latter
of which gave the Giants their first lead of the game.
a demonstration of their championship pedigree, the Panthers
responded yet again with another touchdown drive led by
Veilleux who was able to complete three of six pass attempts,
including a 15-yard pass to Aoude on third and 10, despite
his injured shoulder.
lead, however, was fleeting. A poor kick combined with
a descent return allowed the Giants to start their final
drive on the Panthers' 53. With less than three minutes
to go, the Fulton methodically chewed up the clock with
runs of 5, 13, 4, 12, 12, 4, 5 and 6 yards, to set up
Allen's game-winning touchdown pass to malouin
the game, Salehe was asked about the rather risky decision
to place all their eggs in one basket and placing it on
football. Football comes down to putting the ball into
the hands of the players who you think can make the plays
and for us that's Scottie," said Salehe. "It's
his first year playing running back. So for him to do
what he did today was unbelievable."
Fulton, who has spent the last five years on the defensive
side of the ball and has never been on the winning side
against the Panthers, Saturday's win and the role he played
in leading his team to victory was especially sweet.
like to play hard, but I came out and played harder. We
all did," said Fulton.
for the Panthers, they were already looking forward to
a likely rematch in the A-Cup final which will be played
on the artificial turf at Millennium Park..
still should be another close game, but we're built for
speed," said Koradi. "Turf suit us better. It
doesn't mean we will win on turf, it just suits us better
(than on a muddy field."
for Saturday's game and the outcome, the Panthers' head
coach heaped a ton of praise on both teams.
was a great game. It was probably one of the best peewee
games that I've seen in a long time and one of the best
games we've played in about six years and we knew it would
be. They're a good football team," said Koradi.
either team can focus on the A-Cup playoffs and a possible
rematch, they must finish out the regular season next
Giants will wrap up their schedule against the East Ottawa
Generals on Saturday and the Panthers will get to tune
up for the playoffs against the Kanata Stallions the same
10 p.m., Oct. 8)
www.orleansonline.ca's main page