Big battles order of day in D10 openers
GUELPH – Fans of District 10 high schools football could be in for a real treat this season if the opening-day games are a good indication.
The league started its regular season on a blazing hot and humid Friday afternoon and after the cleats had sent up the last dust cloud of the day, there had been no blowouts and two of the games went down to the final play before the decision was assured.
Week 2 games, all to be played Thursday, have Ross at Bishop Mac at noon, Lourdes at Centennial at 3 p.m. and St. James against GCVI at Alumni Stadium at 8 p.m.
Guelph CVI 24 Lourdes 21
Ben Boddy caught a touchdown pass and kicked a field goal and three converts for the Green Gaels. Thomas McColl and Josh Tran also scored TDs.
“Both teams had their moments where we didn’t take care of the football, but there were a lot of plays where both teams executed really well,” GCVI coach Blair Rickers said. “Their passing game was impressive. We couldn’t tackle their quarterback and their receivers are exceptional and their offensive line did a pretty decent job.”
“When you go against the defending champions, sometimes you think they’re going to rebuild a little after a championship year, but they’re strong if not stronger than they were last year,” Lourdes coach Joe Camilleri said. “They’re a lot better than I thought they would be.”
The Gaels led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, 21-7 at halftime and 24-13 after the third quarter.
“We were able to get a couple of first downs right at the end and just eke it out,” Rickers said. “They’re a good team and we’ll just have to see how the season goes along. It’s still early and I think both teams will come out of this saying ‘We’ve got to get better every week.’ That’s always the goal.”
“We had a bad late first quarter and a bad second quarter and they took advantage of it. They lost their best player, but they built a lead big enough and were just able to hold on,” Camilleri said. “They were playing without their two best players and we took advantage of that.”
Carlos Amaral scored a touchdown, caught a two-point convert pass and kicked a convert for Lourdes. Dalton O’Brien and quarterback Jack St. Hilaire each added a touchdown.
“The offence is still a work in progress for us,” Camilleri said. “Our O line is all Grade 9s and Grade 10s. We’re hoping they get better later in the year. We don’t want to peak right now. Our motto every year is just get better every day. As long as we get better every day, we’ll be OK.”
The Gaels are the defending champions and they returned a large number of players from that winning squad.
“We have basically all but one of our O linemen back,” Rickers said. “We have an experienced team. We have a first-time quarterback (Cory Pryce), but we have a lot of experience.”
The Gaels were hurt by having linebacker Brandon Ferigo out the entire game and they had lineman Tavius Robinson go down with a finger injury in the first half.
“That’s obviously going to impact us,” Rickers said. “You take any team in this league and take their two best players out of the game, it’s going to impact you, but everyone else stepped up. We were playing guys out of position and we were playing guys who hadn’t practised a lot in certain positions and they worked their butts off and they were successful enough. We didn’t play our best, but we played well enough today and we’re just going to try to get better.”
St. James 25 Bishop Macdonell 7
The Lions never trailed in the game, but the finalists were given a battle by the improving Celtics.
Lions’ running back Tanner Nelmes scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters while the Lions also had a rouge from Alex Male to lead 13-0 at halftime.
Pawel Szymanski and Ethan Fish each had one touchdown for St. James.
Spencer Verdun scored the TD for Bishop Mac and Nick Guardiero added the convert.
Ross 27 Centennial 20
A touchdown by Teo Jean-Gaston late in the fourth quarter lifted the Royals to the win.
“You expect the mistakes (during the opening game) and we had lots of those in the first half,” Ross coach Tim Mathewson said. “We’ve got to tune that up. That was a big battle out there and it went down to the wire. They were without their starting running back (Jackson Taylor) so they’ll be there at the end. Like I told the guys, we’ve got to get better every week because this league’s going to be a tight one.”
Ross led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter of the see-saw match, 13-11 at halftime and 20-13 after the third quarter.
“My first head game as head coach, a new coaching staff, a really young team with a lot of new players – we’re just going to come out Monday and we’re going to try to get better,” Centennial coach Zach Pollari said. “We’ve got to clean up the mistakes. We had a lot of penalties we can control and we had some fumbles, turnovers and guys just not staying hydrated so we had issues with injuries.”
Players getting on-field attention due to muscles cramping was a common sight at all three games.
Adam Shoemaker, Joel Nixon and Elijah Jiminez scored the other TDs for Ross while Griffin Cunneyworth kicked three converts.
Drake Davis struck for two TDs for Centennial while Ben Lane kicked a field goal and three converts and the Royals conceded a safety.
Both teams left the field glad that their seasons began with a tough, tight match as both could see what they need to focus on during their practices.
“Regardless of what happened today, what matters is what happens after and getting better,” Mathewson said. “We have lots of work to do.”
“The teams I’ve been a part of, adversity is how you really grow as a team,” Pollari said. “I just emphasized with these guys that we need to win with class and when we lose, we need to lose with class and that’s something we’re really trying to promote with this program.”
- Guelph Sports Journal