Green Gaels, Spartans begin their seasons with victories
GUELPH – With the given name he has, is it any doubt that Peyton Garvin is a quarterback?
“My dad named me that,” Garvin said Friday after he helped the Guelph CVI Green Gaels open their District 10 high school football season with a 28-14 victory over the defending champion St. James Lions at St. James. “It was just non-general, like a football player and a leader. Just a guy that could take control of a team. Just something like that.”
The start was the opposite to last season for both teams as the Gaels dropped their opening two games and St. James won all five of their regular season plus two playoff matches.
“The first half started real slow, but in the second half the team kind of came together more and just played together as a team,” Garvin said. “That’s what we need to do and I think if we do that, we’re unstoppable this year.”
“I thought we played really well and we were in the game,” St. James coach Jeff Cummings said. “They capitalized on a few things. The long snaps (over St. James punter’s head) were two plays that turned into two touchdowns and they went right down our throat and scored. Good on them. They found a couple of spots in our secondary and they kept picking at it. Smart plays, but all-in-all, I thought we did a good job controlling the ball. We did well playing with force, but they capitalized on big plays.”
After winning the D10 title in 2016 and ’17, the Gaels were ousted in the semifinals last year. Regaining the title is GCVI’s driving force this season.
“It’s more of a family environment and we’re hungrier at practice, definitely,” Garvin said. “Last year we had two D10 championships before that and this year, we lost last year so we’re hungry again this year.”
Garvin is also the quarterback of Guelph Minor Football Association’s summer varsity team and that helps him get off to a quicker start in the high school league.
“I feel like I can carry over a lot (from summer ball) because I’m used to playing,” he said. “It’s better competition and bigger defensive guys – that kind of thing. I had really good offensive coordinator and head coach. My offensive coordinator Stevenson Bone helped me out a lot with stuff and my head coach Dan Ferraro really helped me out a lot with stuff, too.”
The Gaels led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before the Lions shot ahead 11-7 by halftime. GCVI shot ahead for good with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to carry a 21-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
Garvin, Ben Boddy, Gabe Magyar-Santen and Rhys Collins each had a TD for the Gaels while Magyar-Santen also converted all four touchdowns.
Calder Bennett was credited with the TD and a two-point convert for St. James while Cameron Ross kicked two field goals.
The loss was the first for the Lions in league play since Sept. 28, 2017, when they were beaten 31-18 by the Gaels.
And the game was a typical season opener with the problems that plagued all six D10 squads this week.
“We can have the same conversation every year,” Cummings said. “Queston. Why are we going offside? Question: Why are we holding? Question. Why are we missing players on the field? It’s the same thing.”
The Lions also have a different look this season as a few players graduated from last year’s team including league MVP Tanner Nelmes.
“We have a little bit different leadership on this team with a couple of guys gone,” Cummings said. “It’ll evolve and it’ll get better. We’re not too concerned about it. We’re actually happy with everything that went on. We’ve just got to make sure that we don’t allow big plays like what they got.”
For GCVI, a return to the championship final is definitely the goal.
“We’ve got to stay humble,” Garvin said. “We’re capable of a lot of things, but we’ve got to stay humble. We’ve got to stay working at every practice and we’ve got to stay hungry.”
Centennial 49 Bishop Macdonell 6
The Spartans are out to atone for last season’s championship-game loss and they started with the one-sided win.
“We’ve got a lot of returning players and we’ve got a lot of talent,” Centennial coach Zach Pollari said. “We’ve got to play up to our potential and that’s always going to be our goal. I think the league will be pretty competitive this year and we’re going to do our best to win, obviously. The end of last year left a sour taste in our mouth so.”
The Spartans were downed 50-16 by St. James in the final.
“That was rough,” Pollari said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure we’re competitive this year and that we’re able to play to our potential.”
Centennial led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter Friday, 21-0 at halftime and 35-0 after the third quarter.
Bishop Mac’s TD came on the final play of the game.
Drake Davis collected two touchdowns for Centennial while Hadi El-Miari, Matt Ness, Andrew Newbigging, Ethan Godinho and Karzaih Mati had one apiece. Ben Lane kicked seven converts.
Parker Cullen found Centennial’s end zone for Bishop Mac’s TD.
While the Spartans will be happy with the outcome of the game, they’ll be concerned with the number of penalties they took.
“Absolutely,” Pollari said. “I told the guys at halftime that we can’t be competitive and play the way we did. The first game is always rough and there’s always more penalties, but it was completely unacceptable the amount of penalties we had. That will certainly be an emphasis at practice this week. And we’ll look at the film, too, and see what was going on on those. Was it a technical issue? Was it players not being disciplined? What was the issue? We’ll address it.”
While getting back to the final is the goal for the Spartans who many feel are the favourites this year, they refuse to look that far ahead.
“I think we can compete in a championship this year, but we’re taking it one day at a time,” Pollari said. “You don’t win anything until you actually get to the game and do it. Talk is cheap. We’ve got to work hard every single day, come to practice and just work on getting better.”
League play resumes with a tripleheader Thursday.
Lourdes Crusaders (0-1) and Bishop Mac (0-1) are to tangle at Alumni Stadium at noon.
Ross Royals (1-0) are to host St. James (0-1) at 3 p.m.
Centennial (1-0) and GCVI (1-0) are to battle at Alumni Stadium at 8 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal