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Ontario Varsity Football
Panthers get mauled by visiting Tabbies
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

It was an all-out cat fight at Millenium Park on Saturday, June 10 as the Hamilton Varsity Tiger Cats were in town to play the Cumberland Panthers in OPFL Week 4 action.

The day started with the Panther's bantam squad coming out on the wrong end of a 25-18 final against their Steel City counterparts.

Running back Alex Vilain scored a pair of touchdowns in a losing cause for the home side -- one through the air and one on the ground -- while pivot Zacharie Clouthier scored the team's third touchdown on a quarterback keeper.

Hamilton improved their record to 3-1 with a convincing 53-20 victory over Cumberland who fell to 1-3 after four weeks of play.

Things didn't get much better for the Panthers junior varsity team which put up a valiant effort in the first half, only to get beat 29-17 when the dust settled in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Ryan Lincardo had another strong game, completing 17 of 35 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown, but the team's defense struggled, allowing 385 yards through the air and four touchdowns.

The Panthers also found it tough going on the ground, gaining just 39 yards in 12 attmepts.

The Panthers' last hope for a win came down to the club's varsity team, but they too proved to be no match for theTiger-Cats as they were overwhelmed 53-20.

The Hamilton team led 8-0 after the first quarter courtesy of two field goals by Tiger-Cats placekicker Max Capriotti and a safety given up by the Panthers' offence.

The closest Cumberland came in this one was midway through the second quarter when Panthers QB Alex Laurie and WR Roberto Jimenez-Bojorquez hooked up for a well-executed 26 yard touchdown pass.

The six points plus a successful conversion cut into Hamilton's lead to 8 points 15-7 and gave the Panthers a glimmer of hope.

"I did what I could to get our team some momentum and get back in the game," said Jimenez-Bojorquez. "I had an idea I could beat their defender and I did. Our coaches saw a flaw in the defence and we exploited it with a touchdown pass."

The Panthers momentum was short-lived as Hamilton capitalized on some sloppy defence by Cumberland and scored the game's next two majors to increase their lead to 29-7 before both teams took a break at halftime.

The second half saw the Tiger Cats pick up where they left off with another score. A holding call nullified a touchdown by Hamilton so they had to settle for a field goal to go ahead 32-7.

"Hamilton is a very good team, we had trouble playing at their level," admitted Panthers head coach, Aaron Geisler.

"We're a fairly young team that has a tendency to make mistakes at the wrong time. If we can learn to be better and play with more consistency, we'll be okay."

The Panthers pushed back when Lawrie completed his second touchdown pass of the night when he connected with Zyon Murray from the Hamilton 20 yard line.

But once again, Cumberland struggled to defend in their zone and the Tiger-Cats found the back of the end zone on the last play of third quarter to take a commanding 39-14 lead.

The final frame of play started with Cumberland putting together a nice set of downs, including a spectacular catch by Jimenez-Bojorquez to put the ball on Hamilton's 19 yard line.

But a cross zone pass was intercepted with the Hamilton player running the length of the field for another Ti-Cats TD to increase the visitors lead to an insurmountable 46-14 advantage.

Hamilton kept coming and coming, hitting the century mark in scoring late in the game but Cumberland's Enoc Enyeka closed out the game with an electric 97 yard touchdown run to end the game on a positive note for the Panthers.

All three Cumberland teams will back in action at Millenium Park this Monday, June 19when they take on the Mississauga Warriors. Game times are 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

(Posted 8:30 a.m., June 15)

 

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