Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Sept. 16


 

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Ontario Varsity Football
Mukendi leads JV Panthers to win over Essex Ravens
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Cumberland Panthers running back Fabrice Mukendi, shown here in an earlier game against Mississauga, ran for 400 yards and five TDs in a 57-26 win over the Essex Ravens on June 9. Photo courtesy of Richard Goulet

Fabrice Mukendi is a young man on a mission. After choosing to sit out last season and watch many of his former Cumberland Panther teammates win the Ontario Provincial Football League junior varsity championship, the 16-year-old was chomping at the bit to put the pads back on and lead the team to a possible repeat performance.

In his first two games, Mukendi averaged 167 yards per game and scored three touchdowns. This past Saturday he went off, running for 400 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries in a 57-26 win over the Essex Ravens. He also kicked four of five extra point attempts doing doubkle duty as a placekicker as well as running back, giving him a total of 43 points. Not a bad day’s work.

Panthers’ head coach Jeff Koradi heaped nothing but praise on his star running back and he couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s back in the line up.

“Every time he gets the ball he scores a touchdown. The kid’s a thoroughbred,” says Koradi. “I think his best quality is his work ethic. He just practices so hard. He just wants to be the best. He’s relentless.”

The Panthers’ other touchdowns were scored by Scott Fulton, who ran one in on the ground and caught another on pass from quarterback Nick Rico who also ran one in on the ground to round out the scoring.

In terms of total offense, the Panthers finished with 542 yards compared to 299 yards for the Ravens

It was an awesome offensive display from a team that has been totally retooled from last year’s championship squad after a majority of the players graduated to the senior varsity team.

One player who remained behind is defensive captain and punt return specialist Justice Koradi who had four solo tackles and ran back a pair of punts for 21 yards against the Ravens.

Other standouts on defence included Eric Cumberbatch and Nathan Marley who had five solo tackles each.

The win improves the Panthers’ record to 2-1. Their next opponent will be the Ottawa Sooners. The two rivals will meet at Millennium Park this Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m.

In other games involving the Panthers, the bantam varsity team lost 36-0 to the Ravens, and the senior team also failed to get on board, losing 35-0 to the Essex team.

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

 

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