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Guelph CVI Green Gaels knocked out of CWOSSA football final

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

WATERLOO — The Guelph CVI Green Gaels’ season came to an end with a thud Tuesday night at University Stadium.

With the temperature hovering around minus-2 C throughout the match, the Gaels surrendered three touchdowns in less than two and a half minutes in the second quarter as they were handed a 44-14 setback by the Jacob Hespeler Hawks in the CWOSSA high school football championship game.

“We had a great season, we just came up against a great team tonight and they executed really well,” GCVI coach Blair Rickers said. “We had our struggles early and sometimes just snowball and we could never really get into our offence. Defensively, we struggled a bit, obviously, but they’re a very good team. Hats off to them. They’re a tremendous team and they certainly deserved this victory.”

“They’re a great team,” GCVI quarterback Simon Chaves said. “Defensively, they knew what we were going to do. We tried to still run it, but they knew what we were going to do and they executed very well.”

“It’s been a great year and this being my last, I wanted to take it as far as we could go,” GCVI’s Lachlun Frey said. “We ended up here representing our city so I could not be happier with the boys.”

At running back Frey had his best outing of the season as he was able to find a bit of room to run against the smothering Hespeler defence.

“I had some big holes out there and I was able to get a couple of big runs,” he said.

The Gaels had kept the game close until that outburst that effectively put the game and a berth in next week’s OFSAA Central Bowl away.

“We made a few mistakes here and there and they took advantage of them,” Rickers said. “We had a couple of opportunities. The ball was on the ground there, but the ball didn’t go our way today. But again, with all that, they played exceptionally well and they deserved the win.”

The Gaels stayed on the ground for their offence most of the game, attempting few passes.

“That was kind of in the game plan and kind of not,” Chaves said. “We’re such a run-heavy team and we try and pass sometimes and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We just tried to do our game, our offence, and it just didn’t turn out today.”

Hespeler led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jackson White to Chris Wahl with 27 seconds to go in the quarter. Darrian Morgan added the convert.

Morgan, a left-footed kicker, stretched the lead with a 25-yard field goal less than two minutes into the second quarter.

White ran two yards to his right for the touchdown that started the quick trio with 6:09 to go in the first half. One minute and 38 seconds later, White connected with Elijah Cruckshank on a 37-yard scoring pass. It took Hespeler 44 seconds to get back in the GCVI endzone, this time when Logan Hall scooped up a fumble and returned it 32 yards for the TD. Morgan converted two of the touchdowns.

“I know we went down early and were out of the game early, but there’s one thing this team has and that’s fight,” Frey said. “I knew that with the boys we have, no one was going to give up and we’d fight until the end of the game no matter what the score would be.”

The Gaels got on the scoreboard with 56 seconds to go in the half when quarterback Chaves ran 11 yards straight ahead for a TD. Ben Boddy added the convert and GCVI trailed 30-7 at the intermission.

“That’s all I wished,” Chaves said of scoring the touchdown. “That was awesome and I’m just looking forward to rugby, wrestling, whatever.”

The Hawks added to their lead with two more TDs in the third quarter. Mario Alyas ran a sweep the width of the field before scoring on a five-yard play and Carlos Galindo found the endzone on a two-yard run. Morgan’s converts completed the scoring for Hespeler.

GCVI added their final TD of the season in the final minute of the game when Brandon Ferigo did the spin-and-in on a one-yard scoring plunge. Boddy converted.

The Gaels, who were looking to be the first D10 team to win the CWOSSA title since the Ross Royals won in 2009, finish their season disappointed with the outcome of their final match, but pleased with a season that saw them capture the D10 title for the first time since 2006.

“We’re really proud of our players,” Rickers said. “This is an outstanding group and it was a great experience coaching them. They’re a bunch of great young guys and I feel really blessed to have been part of this.”

“This was a good way to end it, to get here after 10 years,” Chaves said. “That’s OK for me.”