Spartans, Celtics and Lions secure playoff berths
GUELPH – Three teams have locked in their positions in the District 10 high school football semifinals while the other position will be decided on the final day of the regular season.
The Centennial Spartans and Bishop Macdonell Celtics had secured playoff berths before tangling in the final game of Saturday’s tripleheader at Alumni Stadium while the defending champion St. James Lions grabbed their spot with a win in the opening game of tripleheader.
The Lions blanked the Lourdes Crusaders 20-0 in Game 1 Saturday while the Ross Royals remained in playoff contention with a 21-7 win over the Guelph CVI Green Gaels in Game 2. That loss knocked GCVI out of the playoff race.
Centennial defeated Bishop Mac 21-10 in the third game of the day, a game worthy of being a first-place battle.
The regular season is to come to a close Friday with another three games at Alumni Stadium.
The final playoff berth will be decided in the opening game of the three when the Lourdes Crusaders and Ross clash at 1 p.m. They enter the game with identical 1-3-0 records. If the teams tie that game, organizers will have to go a long way down the list of tie-breaking rules to determine the playoff participant.
Bishop Mac and GCVI are to meet Friday at 4 p.m. while the nightcap is a meeting between St. James and Centennial.
Centennial leads the league at 4-0-0 while Bishop Mac and St. James are both at 3-1-0. Lourdes and Ross are both at 1-3-0 and GCVI is at 0-4-0.
St. James 20 Lourdes 0
All the scoring in the game was complete by halftime as the Lions had an unconverted touchdown in the first quarter and two touchdowns and a two-point convert in the second quarter.
Owen Ellis ran in for the opening TD while Grade 9 receiver Peyton Cummings got free for two long TD catches. Tanner Griffiths added the two-point convert.
“The quarterback (Caden Henry), he placed the ball perfectly right into my hands where I had a perfect opportunity to go and score,” Cummings said. “I just kept focus and make sure I stayed focused on the game.”
The win also keeps the Lions focused for their Week 5 game with Centennial.
“This was a big win,” Cummings said. “It helps us look forward to the next game and be prepared and ready.”
Ross 21 Guelph CVI 7
Two TDs in the final six minutes of the game gave Ross the win in the game that saw the defences slow their opponents.
“I just went out there and played. I didn’t want this to be my second-last game,” Ross defensive lineman Cam Snook said. “I wanted to keep playing the rest of the season.
“We played together. Everyone did their own job and we just came together in the second half and won that game.”
GCVI had opened the scoring with a TD by Bryson Cook being the lone score of the opening quarter. Two-sport fall athlete Wares Hedokheel (he also plays soccer) kicked the convert.
Ross pulled even with a TD in the second quarter by Troy MacDonald. Drew McQueen added the convert.
McQueen scored the go-ahead TD on a 29-yard play in the fourth quarter. Charlie Thurtell kicked the convert.
MacDonald added the final TD on a 39-yard play with about three minutes to go. Thurtell also kicked that convert.
The Royals had been championship-game participants last year, but were disappointed to lose each of their first three games this year.
“It was huge,” Snook said of the win. “We needed this win.
“We haven’t been getting down on our guys at all. We keep fighting every single day.”
The Royals also know they’ll have to continue working as they get ready for their Week 5 match with Lourdes.
“We just have to get film, everyone has to show up and practise hard to get that win.”
Centennial 21 Bishop Macdonell 10
This game was a see-saw affair with both teams taking turns leading the match before the Spartans claimed The Sword. The two teams call their annual regular-season meeting The Battle of the Sword.
“It was so important, the Battle of the Sword,” Centennial running back Matthew Stam said of the win. “You can’t get much better than that. It was a good, hard win by the team.”
It was also a physical game with both both teams having players needing attention from the game’s medic.
“We had guys go down, but overall the guys who backed them up stepped up to the plate,” Stam said.
The lone undefeated team in the league, Stam feels the Spartans have been getting better each week.
“I think we have,” he said. “We’ve had little mishaps here and there, but that’s (the same for) any D10 high school football team, but I think we’re the best one out there.”
And the key to keeping the win streak going?
“I think just staying healthy because we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the skill,” Stam said. “It’s just being dog out there is what everyone has to do.”
When D10 plays games at Alumni Stadium, it’s at the same stadium his father Gerritt Stam starred as running back for the Gryphons in the late 1990s, although it was a natural grass field then, and the same stadium where his brother Nathan Stam plays with the Gryphons this year. And the Stam boys both wear uniform No. 4 – their father wore 36.
“Me and my brother repping the same number is special,” Matthew said.
Bishop Mac led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter Saturday before a scoreless second quarter. Centennial shot ahead 14-10 in the third quarter and cemented the victory with another TD in the final quarter.
Yinka Ogunnote, Matthew Stam and Owen Taylor scored the TDs for Centennial while Thiago Masciemto-Borges kicked two converts and Ethan Godinho added the other one.
Philip Oates scored the TD for Bishop Mac while Martina Vair converted it and also kicked a field goal.
- Guelph Sports Journal