Green Gaels state their case to Spartans and rest of league
GUELPH – The Guelph Green Gaels made a statement to the Centennial Spartans and the rest of the District 10 high school football league in the final game of Thursday’s trio of matches.
“We had to come out and play a really strong team – a well-coached team,” GCVI coach Dan Crabbe said. “I thought our guys hung in there. We played our game, but we have a lot of work still to do.”
The Gaels scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter on their way to a 29-7 victory over Centennial at Alumni Stadium.
“This is a huge statement win,” GCVI receiver Ben Boddy said. He scored two touchdowns for the Gaels. “That score is everything. We worked hard for that and we’re not going to give it up. We’re going to meet them in the playoffs, I’m sure of it, and we’re going to take it to them again.”
“It’s good to see the potential is there,” Crabbe said. “We’re probably going to see them again and we’ve got to be ready for it.”
The Spartans were again plagued by penalties including several for unnecessary roughness.
“We had issues last week with discipline that we obviously did not fix,” Centennial coach Zach Pollari said. “GC’s a good team. They have an awesome coaching staff and they played really well. As I mentioned last week, there’s no way we can be competitive in this league and beat teams if we’re consistently undisciplined.”
GCVI had led 1-0 at the end of the first period and extended that lead to 15-0 at the half. The third quarter was scoreless. The Spartans cut the gap to 15-7 early in the fourth quarter before the Gaels responded with two more touchdowns for the win.
“Defence was huge,” Boddy said. “We had a lot of flags, we have a lot of discipline to work on and we just have to get better every day at practice. That’s the key.”
Boddy led the Gaels with a pair of touchdowns while Rhys Collins and quarterback Peyton Garvin added one apiece. Gabe Magyar-Santen converted all four TDs and added a single on a missed field goal.
GCVI certainly took advantage of the turnovers served up by the Spartans during the game.
“That’s all part of discipline,” Pollari said. “Guys aren’t focusing. Guys aren’t focusing on the things we’ve worked on in practice. They’ve got to take it one play at a time and we’re not doing that. We’ll do what we can to fix it. It’s still a young season.”
“The defence was the best part of this team,” Boddy said. “Defence is what holds us together, offence is what makes us go. If we can get turnovers and keep them in their zone, that’s great for us and it’s great field position.”
“The defence had a really strong game today,” Crabbe said. “They were well prepared. All week the coaches did a good job getting these guys ready to face a high, efficient offence that can make big plays.”
Quarterback Daniel Brown had the TD for Centennial and Ben Lane converted it.
GCVI and the Ross Royals are tied for first in the league at 2-0 while Centennial and the Lourdes Crusaders are both at 1-1. The Bishop Macdonell Celtics and St. James Lions are both at 0-2.
“It’s a better start to this season than last, but it’s not necessarily how you start, it’s how you finish,” Crabbe said. The Gaels dropped their first two games last year before winning three in a row. Thursday’s win extends their regular-season win streak to five games.
The league tripleheader is set for Friday next week. Bishop Mac is to play at St. James at 12:30 p.m. while the other two games are to be played at Alumni Stadium – Centennial against Lourdes at 4 p.m. and Ross against GCVI at 7 p.m.
Lourdes 20 Bishop Macdonell 17 (OT)
Aiden LoStracco caught a TD pass from Jacob Porcellato in the shootout overtime to give Lourdes the win.
“We kind of self-destructed there,” Lourdes coach Joe Camilleri after the Crusaders were taken to overtime after leading 14-0 in the fourth quarter. “Like I said last week, the only thing that is going to help us is experience. Fourteen points with a minute 44 left, you kind of think the game is in the bag, but like they say in the Canadian game, no game is over until the final whistle.”
“We have a very young team,” Bishop Mac coach Rob Hamilton said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes in the first three quarters and then we started playing football in the fourth quarter. We waited until about five minutes left in the game to actually start playing football. Because we have a lot of inexperience, I think our kids are starting to get the idea now.”
Bishop Mac had first possession in the OT and took the lead when Jason Gayin kicked a field goal.
The Celtics had forced the OT when they scored a pair of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter following turnovers by Lourdes.
“We got a severe serving of adversity today,” Camilleri said. “We were crumbling on the sideline there. I’m not going to lie, we crumbled on the sideline. The sideline morale was down. Their morale on the other side was high, but we challenged the defence at the end of the fourth quarter to go out their and dig deep. They dug deep and held them to a field goal.”
Hayden Finoro and Devon Corbit scored the TDs for Bishop Mac while Gayin converted both.
“We have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks,” Hamilton said. “Right now I’m encourage by what we’ve got. We’ve just got to play like that for all four quarters and we should be better off.”
After a scoreless first half at Alumni Stadium, Nick Peters found the Bishop Mac endzone when he returned an interception for a TD for the Crusaders.
“That kid comes out and he’s never played the game before,” Camilleri said of Peters. “Never played the game before. It’s not that he’s playing a new position, he’s never played before. He comes out here and he’s got 12 tackles today and an interception for a touchdown. He did get a couple of penalties because he just doesn’t know the game.”
Matteo Mammolitti added the other TD for Lourdes early in the fourth quarter.
Josh Romero kicked both converts for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders were dealt a blow earlier in the week when quarterback Ethan Bizjack was hurt during practice and was unavailable for the game and they had to turn to Jakub Hosford and Porcellato.
“We had two guys who played quarterback today,” Camilleri said. “These guys aren’t quarterbacks, but they go in there and try to do the best they can for us.”
Bishop Mac and Lourdes are in similar positions as both are rebuilding. The Celtics, though, have fewer players.
“One of the other challenges we have is a short roster,” Hamilton said. “Having 28 kids on the roster makes it challenging for us. There are a lot of two-way players, but I’m very proud of how the kids battled it out. We went to overtime, which is fantastic. We thought we had a good position (with the field goal in OT).”
Ross 18 St. James 0
The Royals scored their first win over the Lions in almost exactly five years as they’d lost five consecutive games to St. James, including one in the playoffs, since a 21-3 victory on Sept. 25, 2014.
“It feels pretty good,” Ross coach Tim Mathewson said. “Our defence played solid and our offence was moving the ball. They were stacking the box and we were still running it. Our O-line really stepped up in that second half to dominate.”
One of the two teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last year when they went winless, things are quite a bit different for Ross this year.
“There’s a lot better vibe,” Mathewson said. “We’ve got lot better leadership and guys are hungry. They’re buying in and they know what it takes to win. Last year they learned what they were doing wrong and they’ve actually learned from it and that’s a great feeling.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Royals went ahead for good with an unconverted TD in the second quarter. They extended the lead to 13-0 by the end of the third quarter.
Teo Jean-Gaston ran in for both TDs for the Royals while Max Nixon kicked a convert and a field goal. Ross also got two points on a safety.
“We still left a ton of points on the board,” Mathewson said. “We still had a ton of penalties that we’ve got to cut out. If we can do those things, we can start operating at a higher level.”
- Guelph Sports Journal