Football Gaels survive scare to clinch top spot
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph CVI Green Gaels survived a scare from the Bishop Macdonell Celtics to clinch a first-place finish in the District 10 high schools football league Friday night at Alumni Stadium.
The Gaels rallied in the second half to down the Bishop Macdonell Celtics 28-15. Bishop Mac had led 9-0 at halftime.
“First half we just came out flat,” GCVI running back/linebacker Brandon Ferigo said. “It didn’t seem like we were really ready to play, but then we started talking at halftime and made adjustments and started to get hyped up. We came out the second half and we just started rolling.”
The win was GCVI’s fourth in as many games. While the St. James Lions could tie the Gaels for top spot with a win over the Ross Royals and a GCVI loss to the Centennial Spartans next week, the Gaels would win the tie-breaker for first by virtue of a victory over the Lions Sept. 28.
Friday night, Bishop Mac grabbed an early lead with a touchdown in the first quarter. They added a field goal in the second quarter before the Gaels came back with two converted TDs in the third quarter to surge ahead.
Ferigo, making his first appearance on offence this season, scored three TDs for the Gaels while Trevor Keough scored the other one. Ben Boddy converted all four.
Luke Walton scored both TDs for Bishop Mac while Nick Guardiero kicked the field goal.
“That felt amazing,” Ferigo said of his return to the offence. “I was so happy to be out there. I would’ve liked to have run the ball more, but I am still healing up. I’m not at 100 per cent so I was fine with the goal-line touches.”
Ferigo suffered a leg injury in a preseason game and sat out the first two games of GCVI’s regular season. A two-way player, Ferigo played strictly on defence in the third game before adding some offensive duties back on his resume against Bishop Mac.
The Gaels (4-0-0) are to play the Centennial Spartans (2-2-0) Friday at Alumni Stadium. Game time for the league’s final game of the regular season is 7 p.m. While the Gaels have clinched first, the Spartans can finish as high as third depending on the score of the game and other results.
GCVI isn’t about to take that game off, especially since they’ll have a bye in the quarter-finals the following week.
“We treat everyone the same,” Ferigo said. “Centennial has a lot of quality athletes on their team with a talented running back, talented quarterback and a good receiving corps around them. We treat every team the same and every game the same so that we’re always preparing well and we’re always in the right mental state for the game.”
Bishop Mac (0-4-0) is to host the Lourdes Crusaders (1-3-0) Thursday at 3 p.m. Bishop Mac will finish fifth with a win in that game while
St. James 27 Centennial 9
It took a quarter for St. James to find Centennial’s end zone before they rolled to the win over the Spartans.
While the win put the Lions at 3-1-0 and all alone in second, they can finish anywhere from second to fourth depending on the result of their game Friday with the Ross Royals (2-2-0) and the result of the game between GCVI and Centennial. The Spartans (2-2-0) can finish anywhere from third to fifth while Ross can finish anywhere from second to fourth.
“We just came out and we executed,” St. James quarterback Alex Baseggio said. “Everyone was focused and we just kept rolling.”
Against Centennial, the Lions turned a scoreless stalemate at the end of the first quarter into a 14-0 lead at halftime. The Spartans collected the only points of the third quarter when St. James conceded a safety.
Tanner Nelmes scored three TDs for the Lions while Jakob Tomas scored one. Piotr Czachor had three converts.
While Nelmes is a large part of the offence for the Lions, he isn’t the only cog in the wheel.
“It’s just everybody doing their job — never get too high and never get too low,” Baseggio said. “It brings up the confidence for the players and our O line as well to make the holes for Tanner to make those big runs.”
Jackson Taylor scored Centennial’s TD in the fourth quarter while Ben Lane kicked the convert.
The win was the second for St. James since the Lions lost 31-18 to GCVI.
“We just have to keep rolling — every practice get better and every game get better,” Baseggio said.