Football Spartans eke out slim Week 2 win

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Kicker Ben Lane of the Centennial Spartans came through on his second chance.

About two and a half minutes after missing a shorter field goal, Lane connected on a 42-yarder with the win at his back and 4.8 seconds to play to lift the Centennial Spartans to a 20-17 victory over the Lourdes Crusaders in District 10 high schools football play Thursday at Centennial.

“It was awesome, a great feeling getting to go out there and coach giving me a chance to go for it,” Lane said. “It’s fantastic. No better way to ask for than to finish off the game that way. It’s was really fun.”

“They took advantage of field possession near the end of the game and made a clutch kick. The kid’s a good kicker,” Lourdes coach Joe Camilleri said. “That was a good kick. I give him all the credit in the world.”

As Lane lined up to try the eventual game-winning field goal, he had put any thoughts of his earlier miss out of his head.

“You just have to take what you did wrong and make something out of it,” he said. “You can’t let it get into your head because once you do that, that’s what throws your kicking game off and that’s what throws it all off. You have to take that, change your mindset and then go kick the next one.”

The field goal, Lane’s second of the fourth quarter, preserved the win for the hosts as Centennial had led 14-0 at the half thanks to second-quarter touchdowns by Jackson Taylor and Daniel Brown. Lane converted both.

The Crusaders had battled back in the fourth quarter to tie the score. Centennial had conceded a safety in the third quarter before Lourdes added touchdowns by Dalton O’Brien and Zachary DeCorso, a two-point convert by DeCorso and a single-point convert by Carlos Amaral to knot the score.

“We’ve lost two games by six points so we’re there, but we have to realize the game starts at 3 O’clock or 12:30,” Camilleri said. “The game doesn’t start at 4:15 or 4:30. If we even stop them in the first half once or get a score in the first half once, we’re there. Our defence is playing good. They’re keeping us in the position. Our offence by the time they wake up in the second half, we’re there.”

Centennial improves to 1-1-0 with the win while Lourdes falls to 0-2-0.

The game was one of three Thursday and there’ll be another full slate of three games Week 3 on Thursday. Centennial is to play the Bishop Macdonell Celtics at Alumni Stadium at 12 noon, Lourdes is to host the St. James Lions at 4 p.m. and the Ross Royals and Guelph CVI Green Gaels, both at 2-0-0, are to clash at Alumni Stadium at 8 p.m.

 

Ross 41 Bishop Macdonell 34

Another game, this one a see-saw battle throughout, decided late when George Carriere caught a short TD pass from quarterback Adam Shoemaker to put Ross ahead with about three and a half minutes to go in the game.

“I wanted it all game. I was hungry for it,” Carriere said of the TD. “They gave me a break, I was wide open and the quarterback made the right throw.”

Being wide open can sometimes lead to problems for a receiver as they have time to think about what they’re going to do after catching the ball. This game saw plenty of dropped passes by open receivers on both teams, but Carriere wasn’t having any of that.

“Eyes on the ball,” he said. “The No. 1 priority is catching that ball and that’s what I did.”

The game was close throughout as neither team could assert its dominance over the other. The score was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter before Bishop Mac took a 21-20 lead by the end of the second quarter. It was knotted 27-27 at the end of the third quarter.

“Today we really had a lot of things go well for us on offence,” Bishop Mac coach Rob Hamilton said. “Last week we had some things go well for us on defence — if we pull those two things together.”

“By the fourth quarter we picked it up and got it done,” Carriere said.

Elijah Jimenez scored two touchdowns for Ross while Teo Jean-Gaston, Shoemaker and Joel Nixon had one apiece and Griffin Cunneyworth added five converts.

Quarterback Caelen Fraser had three touchdowns for the Celtics while Nick Guardiero had a touchdown and four converts and Zach Murch added the other touchdown.

For Bishop Mac, one of their challenges this season might be learning how to win. The Celtics are 3-24 in the past five seasons and two of those wins came during one week in 2012 when they beat they beat Centennial 35-14 Oct. 18 six days after beating the now departed Orangeville Bears 41-20 six days earlier. Their other win was over Orangeville in 2015, the last season for the Bears.

“We’re very in our heads right now mentally because we’ve been a losing program for so long,” Hamilton said. “These kids are not used to being successful so now we have to focus on those types of things in practice just to make sure we can pull it all together as a single unit. I’m very confident about this season as I think we’re looking very good. This is the best season we’ve had so far.”

 

Guelph CVI 31 St. James 18

The Green Gaels likely established themselves as the team to beat with a dominant performance against the Lions in the night game at Alumni Stadium.

“We just came out hard from the start and everyone was going 100 per cent,” GCVI lineman Tavius Robinson said. “We came out and made a statement.”

Robinson added to the scoring total for the Gaels when he pounced on loose ball in the St. James end zone following a fumble by the Lions on a punt return.

“I just ran as fast as I can as always just to make the tackle, saw the ball and jumped on it,” Robinson said. “I got my first touchdown.”

The score was actually flattering for the Lions who got all their points after GCVI took most of its starters out of the game and St. James responded with three unconverted touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Robinson’s TD had put GCVI ahead 31-0 early in the final quarter.

“It was an embarrassing result. They really took it to us,” St. James coach Jeff Cummings said. “That score is totally not reflective of what happened out there. They slapped us around. They beat us up.

“That’s a tough team. We’d better be improved the next time we walk on the field with them or it’s just going to be the same result. You have to be in a better mindset when you’re getting challenged by a team like that. There are too many good athletes.”

With Friday being a PD day, Cummings felt his players were more concerned about their weekend plans than the task at hand on the field.

“It’s a weird thing because we just really had a bad energy. I roll my eyes when people say ‘Rhythm, you need to get into a rhythm and you need good energy,’ but we just came out flat and you felt it right when we walked in the building,” Cummings said. “I think we have a lot of mindset things to work on. It’s a young group and they came in talking about their weekend. They came in talking about what they’re going to do on Friday. You don’t go in to play the defending champions talking about what you’re going to do on Friday night. Hopefully they learned a lesson. We got embarrassed in front of a large crowd. All we can do is learn from it and get better.”

The Gaels led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 24-0 at halftime before a scoreless third quarter.

Ben Boddy had a huge haul of points as he scored two touchdowns and kicked a field goal and four converts for the Gaels. Josh Tran scored the other TD.

Ethan Fish had two touchdowns for St. James and Piotr Czachor had one.