Bishop Mac turns Ross Royals into playoff spectators

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Bishop Macdonell Celtics did something Thursday in District 10 high school football that they hadn’t done in almost 12 years.

The Celtics recorded their first shutout win since Oct. 13, 2006, when they blanked the Ross Royals 26-0 at Ross. Their last shutout victory was a 7-0 win over Ross at Bishop Mac.

“We’ve got to the point mentally where we’re able to perform to the best of our ability on defence and perform to the best of our ability on offence,” Bishop Mac coach Rob Hamilton said. “We’ve had flashes of (things that) need improvement, but at the end of the day that’s every team in the league. We’re getting to the point now that at 2-2 we understand we not only have a realistic shot at the playoffs, but hopefully of a third-place position depending on how other games go. We’re in a better spot than we’ve ever been.”

“This win’s huge because as a program we haven’t been that good recently, but now we’re at a .500 record, 2-2, and we’re going for probably the first winning record (since the school relocated from downtown Guelph to the south end in 2004),” Bishop Mac quarterback Caelan Fraser said. “It’s a huge win and it’s a great confidence booster after last week. It’s good for the guys.”

The win followed last week’s 21-2 loss to the unbeaten St. James Lions and it evened Bishop Mac’s record at 2-2-0 and kept the Celtics in the playoff reckoning. Top four teams qualify for the playoffs and Bishop Mac is third with one game to go.

“That’s big, too,” Fraser said of the Celtics controlling their own fate in regard to qualifying for the playoffs. “Now we control our own destiny. The guys know that this is our time and we control our destiny. It’s a big season. We’ve got a lot of senior guys and everyone’s fired up and everyone loves it.”

The loss, the fourth in as many outings for the Royals, knocked Ross out of the playoff picture.

The Celtics led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, 20-0 at halftime and 26-0 after the third quarter.

Fraser scored two touchdowns for the Celtics and he also threw a TD pass to Nick Guardiero who also had a field goal, two converts and a rouge. Bishop Mac also had a safety.

“This really rounds a corner for the building of our program,” Hamilton said. “We’ve talked about the rebuild is over. We’ve talked about that a lot and we’re just playing football now. We’ve got a solid program and this is a reflection of that. It’s been five years of hard work and we’re going to keep going.”

The performance was Bishop Mac’s best of the season.

“We were clicking on all levels,” Fraser said. “The defence shut out, they played unreal. Special teams is doing good, too. Our offence, we’ve had a slow start, but we’ve picked it up. All around it was all great.”

This week’s league play concludes with two games Friday at Alumni Stadium. The Lourdes Crusaders and Guelph CVI Green Gaels tangle at 4 p.m. and the St. James Lions and Centennial Spartans are to battle at 7 p.m. in a game that will likely decide top spot in the league.

Next week will be the final week of regular-season play with all three games set for Oct. 19 at Alumni Stadium. Ross is to play Centennial at 12 p.m., GCVI is to play Bishop Mac at 4 p.m. and Lourdes is to play St. James at 7 p.m.

“Going into GC, we’re very excited about it and we’re very cautious because GC is always a good team,” Hamilton said. “They have a good coaching staff and they always make sure they have a well-prepared team. I’m going to prepare to make sure we’re 100 per cent on the ball.”