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(Posted 2:30 p.m., Nov. 7)
St. Peter Knights down east end rival Tigers, win 'unofficial' gridiron championship

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The St, Peter Lmights' Zekeim Ogilvie tries to get away from St. Matts Tigers defender Devon Guy during Wednesday's big game. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The St. Peter Knights and the St. Matthew Tigers finally got to meet on the turf for the first time since last year's city championship on Wednesday, and the Knights would finally get to avenge what was an embarrassing defeat.

The Knights and the Tigers went into Wednesday's showdown with identical 5-0 records. Only one of them would emerge with their unbeaten record intact.

The game pitted two young quaterbacks against each, who just three months ago hooked up for a last second touchdown to win the provincial junior varsity championship for the Cumberland Panthers.

Knights quarterback Ryan Licandro threw that memorable pass and Tigers pivot Xavier Gervais caight it.

On Wednesday the two former teammates were now foes. The game itself was the regular season finale for both teams with nothing on the line except for first place in the fnal stadnings and bragging rights for the winners.

The Tigers had already declared themselves eligible to represent the National Capital regon in the OFSAA Metro Bowl. The Knights declined the opportunity as did the other nine teams in the league.

What that means is the Tigers will advance to the Metro Bowl without having to go through a playoff. The other 10 teams, including the Knights, will vie for the NCSSAA Tier 1 championship.

So without any playoff implications involved, the two best high school teams in the city lined up against each other on Wednesday in a rematch of last year's city championship game which the Tigers won 42-0.

Suitably motivated, the Knights managed to jump out to a an early 7-0 first quarter lead on a 45-yard touchdown run by Zak Karim.

The Knights' defence forced the TIgers to concede a safety early in the second quarter to extend their advantage to 9-0.

A Josh Baka interception off an errant Gervais pass later in the second quarter would set up a 27-yard field goal by Sasha Jarbouh, and by the end of the first half the Knights enjoyed a 12-0 lead.

In an effort to get their offence in gear, the Tigers dug into their bag of tricks to start the second half and pulled out a 50-yard halfback option play from A.K. Ismail to Chaz Alain that took the ball down to the Knights' 20-yard line.

Two plays later, Gervais was forced to leave the game after being taken down in the backfield while attempting to get rid of the ball. He suffered a head and neck injury on the play and would remain on the sideline for the remainder of the game.

With their starting quarterback out of action, the Tigers to turned to their running backs, and Chaz Alain in particular, who took on three St. Peter tacklers and literaly carried them across the goal line for the St. Matt's first and only touchdown of the contest.

The rest of the game boiled down to a defence affair as the two opposing defences took turns holding their adversaries at bay.

The clock soon became the Tigers worst enemy. With Gervais out of the game, the offence had to depend on the runing game and the Knights knew it, as they zeroed in on Alain and Enoc Enyeka in the backfield.

The game remained close until the final minute when the Knights capitalized on a 90-yard effort by Karim to score their second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run by Licandro.

Having won the "unofficial" city championship, the Knights can now focus on the official Tier 1 playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. The Tigers, in the meantime, have three weeks to prepare for the defence of the Metro Bowl which they won last year 28-7 against Michael Power/St. Joseph's Trojans.

Tigers head coach Jean Guillaume says, the layoff is a good thing because it will allow them to get healthy and properly prepare for their opponent, provincial powerhouse Huron Heights.

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capped off a long drive with a one yard run by Licandro on a quarterback-keeper.

 

 

 

 

The Panther tykes kicked the day off with a 46-20 win over the Cornwall Wildcats behind an MVP performance by quarterback and placekicker Shilo Mukendy who scored 40 of his teamís points, including six touchdowns.

As strong as the Panthersí running game was, it was there defence that made the difference in limiting the Wildcats to 20 points despite the heroics of their own feature running back, Ben Jackman, who scored all three of his teamís touchdowns on runs of 55, 37 and 56 yards. (It should be noted that the tykes play on an 80-yard field.)

After the game, tykes head coach Eric Anderson praised the Wildcats for giving the Panthers a run for their money

ďWe didnít get anything easy. We had to fight for our yards. It was the five- and six-yard plays by our fullback, our tailback and our slotback that made the difference on offence. And on defence we gave up a couple of big plays, but other than that we shut them down,Ē Anderson explained.

The Cumberland Panthers tyke team pose for a team picture after winning the NCAFA A-Cup champuonship on Sunday, Fred Sherwin/Photo

Following the tyke trophy presentation it was the mosquito teamís turn to take the field against the Kanata Knights.

Both teams got to the final the hard way, pulling off upsets in the semi-finals. The Knights downed the Orleans Bengals 34-30 and the Panthers beat the previously undefeated Cornwall Wildcats.

Cumberlandís defence set the tone early on in the championship game nearly intercepting a pass, sacking the Knights quarterback and blocking a punt on three consecutive plays to set up a three-yard touchdown run by Marvyn Larozar.

Larozar would score again later on the first quarter on a 22-yard effort to give his team a 12-0 lead.

The Panthers continued to dominate the play in the second stanza, putting together a 12-play drive that burned nearly 10 minutes off the clock before stalling on the Knights 18-yard line.

Kanata was able to get off three plays including their first first down of the game with 1:27 remaining in the opening half.

The Panthers would increase their lead in the second half thanks to Laraozarís third touchdown of the game. The speedy running back took the ball five yards out from the end zone and simply ran through the hole created by big offensive lineman Daniel Sungani who got a great deal of MVP consideration for the job he did in clearing the way for both Laraozar and his fellow running mates Hunter Kelly and Owen Shields.

Kelly scored on a 42-yard run in the third quarter to put his team up 25-0, and Shields capped the game with a five-yard run midway through the fourth stanza to extend the Panthersí lead to 39-6. In between, Larozar scored his fourth major of the game.

Members of the Cumberland Panthers moaquito team pose with he championship trophy after beating the Kanata Knights in Sunday's A-Cup final. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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