Football Crusaders refuse to lose to Ross

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Lourdes Crusaders just refused to add another loss to their record.

The Crusaders kept their focus and their enthusiasm to come back in the fourth quarter to slip by the Ross Royals 36-29 in District 10 high schools football play Thursday at Ross.

“We finally won a close one,” Lourdes coach Joe Camilleri said. “We still made some mistakes and we’re still undisciplined. We got a lot of yards in penalties, but the kid made a play at the end of the game and got a pick for us.”

While quarterback Jack St. Hilaire scored the winning touchdown for Lourdes on a keeper play with 17 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, it was set up by an interception by Zachary Yundt in Lourdes’ end of the field.

“He’s such a good practice player for us and he made a play when it counts,” Camilleri said. “We took the turnover and we drove the field.”

“My O line was pushing the whole game so I trusted them to make a hole for me,” St. Hilaire said of the winning touchdown. “I walked into the end zone for that touchdown.”

The host Royals did everything they could in the third quarter to dampen the visitors’ enthusiasm by scoring a touchdown very quickly after the Crusaders had scored one.

“I always trust my team to come back, even when we’re down,” St. Hilaire said.

“It was frustrating because it seemed every time we scored, they came down in two, three or four plays and answered right back,” Camilleri said. “That’s a good football team. The parity in the league is there. We could easily be 4-0 right now, but we’re 1-3. We’re still in a position where we could host a playoff game if we win next week. But the parity is there. Anyone can beat anyone on any day.”

Lourdes tied Thursday’s game early in the second half before Ross quarterback Adam Shoemaker and George Carriere connected on a long TD play a couple of plays after Lourdes had scored. However, the convert attempt failed.

Lourdes went on a touchdown by Carlos Amaral and he added the convert to put the Crusaders ahead by a point.

Ross, though, shot ahead again on the next possession by Lourdes when Dean Clattenburg returned an interception for a touchdown. Ross missed that convert, too.

Lourdes regained the lead in the fourth quarter when Amaral reached the ball into the Ross end zone for his third touchdown of the game. Ethan Bizjack caught a two-point convert toss to give the Crusaders a three-point lead.

Ross squared the game when Shoemaker kicked a field goal midway through the final quarter.

That set the stage for St. Hilaire’s winning TD.

“Jack showed a ton of heart on those QB runs,” Camilleri said. “He was stopped short a few times, but he willed his way through. He took a lot of hits. He plays both ways, the kid doesn’t come off the field. The only time he gets a drink is on special teams.”

“That was a tough game not coming off the field, but it was good,” St. Hilaire said. “It was so close that I had the adrenaline the whole game and I wasn’t tired at all. I’m feeling great for that win.”

Dalton O’Brien scored the other TD for Lourdes while Amaral kicked four converts.

Carriere had two touchdowns for Ross while Elijah Jimenez scored the other one and Shoemaker kicked two converts.

The 36 points scored by the Crusaders were the most they’d scored in a single game since back-to-back 50-point outings early in October of 2015.

The result leaves Ross at 2-2-0 and Lourdes at 1-3-0.

This week’s slate of games continues with two games Friday as the St. James Lions (2-1-0) are to host the Centennial Spartans (2-1-0) at 3 p.m. and the Guelph CVI Green Gaels (3-0-0) and Bishop Macdonell Celtics (0-3-0) are to clash at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m.