Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 20


 

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Varsity Football
JV Panthers end regular season on a high note
By Mike Beasley
Orléans Online

Cumberland Panthers kicker and receiver Xavier Gervais overcame a severelty sprained ankle to kick a field goal and score a pair of touchdowns in 19-0 win over the Ottawa Sooners on Sunday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

At the beginning of this Ontario Provincial Football League season, Cumberland Panthers Junior Varsity head coach, Jeff Koradi wanted two things from his players, be prepared to work hard in practice and compete in every single game.

According to Koradi, “The rest would take care of itself.”

The Panthers bench boss was 100 per cent correct as he watched his squad scratch and claw their way to a respectable 5-3 record over the past two months and a spot in the post season.

Koradi’s crew had a rough start with just one win in their first four games, but they regrouped nicely and went undefeat-ed the remainder of the season.

Cumberland picked up their fifth victory at Millennium Sports Park on Saturday, beating the visiting Guelph Gryphons 54-10.

Quarterbacks Ryan Licandro and Xavier Gervais threw two TDs each, while Gervais scored a third major on the ground. Four different players were on the receiving end of the touchdown passes including Kevin Victome who caught his team-leading sixth touchdown of the season.

“I thought we played well physically against Guelph, but we were not that sharp mentally, the bye week really affected some aspects of our game,” Koradi admitted.

“I’m confident we can be better, but I’m happy we ended up two games over .500, especially the way we started this season. But you know the saying, ‘It’s not how you start something but how you finish’.”

The win gives Cumberland 14 points and a lock on second place in the Junior Varsity East Division behind the 7-1 Burlington Stampeders who captured the regular season crown in that grouping.

With their five wins, the Panthers finished a game ahead of the third place Durham Dolphins (4-4).

Cumberland and Durham will meet in the East Division semi-final at Millennium Park on Monday, Nov. 20.

The two teams lined up against each other in Durham on June 2 with the Panthers edging the Dolphins 27-17 for their first win of the season.

"Now that regular season is over and teams have been eliminated we'll be getting back to the strength of our league," Koradi explained. "We'll be faced with the task of beating one squad at a time starting with Durham."

On paper, the Panthers appear to be the superior team with 234 points for in eight games compared to Durham’s total offensive production of 179 points.

On the defensive side of the ball, Cumberland gave up just 136 points to lead their division during the regular season. Durham wasn’t far behind, with 158 points against.

The Panthers feature a line-up with several explosive players like Licandro who finished the regular season with close to 2000 total passing yards and 18 touchdown passes.

Running back Marvin Simba is a force on the ground for the Panthers, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and four rushing TDs.

Cumberland is very dangerous when they utilize their dynamic receiving corps, led by Victome who seems almost unstoppable at times.

Xavier Gervais (4 TDs), Jonathan Aoude and Connor MacDonald are three other receivers that Licandro will look to throw the ball to in the post season.

"Entering this week's semi-final game against Durham with the confidence that we beat them earlier in the season will definitely help us but it will come down to execution and making plays at the right time," says Koradi.

The Cumberland-Durham kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Millenium Sports Park. The other semi-final, will see the number one ranked Burlington Stampeders (7-1) take on the fourth place Ottawa Sooners (4-4) on July 22.

(Posted 11:30 a.m., July 18)

 

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