2 p.m., Nov. 7)
Bantam Panthers come up short in bid for perfect season
By Mike Beasley
Cumberland Panthers bantam team has a date with destiny
on Friday, Feb. 9. A date they hope will result in a city
championship and the fulfillment of what has so far been
a perfect season.
Cumberland Panthers bantam football team could not have
picked a worse time to come up with their least productive
effort of the season.
their hard work and success during an undefeated 8-0 regular
season campaign went for not as they fell 17-13 to the
Kanata Knights (7-1) in the NCAFA A-Cup final at Millennium
Park on Sunday.
Panthers dream of a perfect season came to an abrupt end
as they struggled to execute and put up points in a game
where they needed them most.
made some mistakes, it sucks to lose and not fulfill our
potential,” said Panthers head coach Dave Fletcher.
of the Panthers blunders were self-inflicted with fumbles
and dropped passes when it seemed like they were mounting
an attack. Cumberland played from behind the entire game
with Kanata taking advantage of their opposition’s miscues.
prime example of the Panthers’ mistakes came in the form
of a trio of rouges given up by the team as a result of
poor ball handling by Cumberland’s kick returners.
Panthers turned the ball over three times on fumbles and
dropped several pass attempts when no Kanata defender
game aside, we played extremely well this season and enjoyed
an incredible amount of success,” Fletcher stated when
addressing his team after the disappointing loss. “It
hurts to lose but we can’t get it back, despite it not
being our best effort, we still fell one play short.”
play or set of downs Fletcher was referring to came in
the last minute of the game when Cumberland still had
a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A
Kanata fumble at mid-field gave the Panthers the chance
to drive for a winning score, but they were unable to
generate any offence and had to give up the ball on downs.
Panthers defence did its level best to keep the game within
reach, stifling Kanata’s offence and providing the offence
with one last gasp.
34 seconds remaining on the clock, Cumberland started
an offensive series on the Knights’ 30-yard line, but
couldn’t click on two pass attempts and a running play.
And that was it, game over.
much anticipated contest featured the undefeated Panthers
against the 7-1 Kanata Knights, the two top teams in the
Bantam division. Cumberland finished the regular season
averaging 35.5 points per game while allowing a stingy
3.7 points against.
wasn’t too shabby themselves scoring an average of 33.2
points per game while giving up and average of 13.8.
their path to the final match-up, Cumberland put a hurt
on their opposition, thrashing the Myers Riders 68-0 in
the quarterfinals and beating the Rideau Red-blacks 42-14
in the semis.
their earlier success in the playoffs, the Panthers struggled
to score points in the final.
can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong,” said a dejected
Cumberland QB, Christian Veilleux after the game.
Panthers’ quarterback tried his best on several occasions
to rally his troops by running the ball for first downs,
but it simply wasn’t enough.
was named Cumberland’s “Player of the Game” for his efforts
but it came in a losing effort.
into the game, I really thought that we (Cumberland) would
be playing in the Interprovincial Bowl in a couple of
weeks but we didn’t play to our potential and made too
bantam team was attempting to give the Panthers Football
Club its third championship of the day after the tyke
and mosquito squads won earlier in the day.
DB Justice Koradi knows what it takes to win at the tyke,
mosquito and peewee levels where he’s been a part of four
NCAFA championship winning teams.
past summer, Koradi played a pivotal role in helping the
Panthers junior varsity team win the Ontario Provincial
Football League title.
the loss in Sunday’s A-Cup final, Koradi felt the disappointment
of fall-ing short in the goal of playing in the Interprovincial
importance of both games was similar but different things
happened in each one of them,” Koradi explained. “In the
A-Cup final we didn’t get the right start and struggled
to find our game. I’m not going to make excuses for the
loss because Kanata came into the game well prepared and
ready to play.”
and several of his teammates have one more year of bantam
eligibility left to make another run at the title.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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