Spartans, Celtics to clash in District 10 football final
GUELPH – One team will be looking to repeat as District 10 high school football champions while the other will be out to end the current longest championship-winning drought in the local league.
The defending champion Centennial Spartans and the Bishop Macdonell Celtics, who last won the league title in 1987, are to meet Friday in the championship game at Alumni Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.
Both advanced with semifinal victories Friday at the stadium and both scored 29 points in their wins. The Spartans downed the Ross Royals 29-7 in the opening game of the Fryday Night Lights semifinal doubleheader while Bishop Mac disposed of the St. James Lions 29-18 in the nightcap.
Looking ahead to the final, the Spartans and Celtics had been in the three-way tie for first place with the Lions, all with 4-1-0 records. Centennial led the league in scoring with 181 points while Bishop Mac led the league in fewest points allowed, 44. However, the Celtics were second in scoring with 164 points and the Spartans were second in fewest points allowed with 55.
Bishop Mac defeated Centennial 19-14 in their regular-season meeting Oct. 13 at Alumni Stadium.
Centennial 29 Ross 7
Centennial’s defence held Ross’s offence without a touchdown in the match.
The Spartans jumped ahead early and led 13-0 at the end of the first quarter and 20-7 at halftime before a scoreless third quarter.
Centennial opened the scoring on an eight-yard touchdown run by Matt Stam. It was set up by a 61-yard run on a fake punt by Kyle Assmann and then a Ross penalty.
A 45-yard run by Stam set up Centennial’s next TD, a 10-yard run on a keeper play by quarterback Jackson Leshuk. Mohamed Idris booted the convert.
In the second quarter, another fake punt by the Spartans proved costly and led to the Ross touchdown on one of those weird football plays. Liam Kingsbury of the Royals caused a fumble and teammate Carl Christian scooped the ball up and started heading toward the Centennial endzone. However, Centennial’s Nathan Laskowski knocked the ball loose on a tackle, but it bounced right into the arms of Ross’s Tyler Williams who ran 17 yards for the TD. Charlie Thurtell kicked the convert.
Leshuk scored his second touchdown of the game for the Spartans later in the quarter on a one-yard run to his right. It came on a play right after he’d been knocked out of bounds at the Ross one-yard line after a 36-yard run. Idris had the convert.
While the third quarter was scoreless, Centennial’s Stam found the Ross endzone on a 40-yard scamper to his right only for the would-be TD to be negated by a penalty.
All of the scoring in the fourth quarter were courtesy of Centennial’s Idris who booted three field goals.
Bishop Macdonell 29 St. James 18
Bishop Mac needed a second-half comeback to claim the victory.
The Celtics had scored the opening TD of the game and led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. They added another TD in the second quarter, but the Lions rallied and a pick six late in the half gave St. James a 16-14 lead at the break.
But the Celtics weren’t to be denied a berth in the final as they came back with two touchdowns in the third quarter to go ahead for good. They led 28-16 at the end of the quarter and the scoring in the final quarter was limited to a rouge for BM and a safety for St. James.
Marco Piccioni, reigning Fitzy winner as last year’s most outstanding player, opened the scoring for the Celtics on a four-yard run to his left. Dimitri Grieb booted the convert.
Bishop Mac extended its lead in the second quarter when quarterback Alex Iacocca found Sam Shoniker with an 11-yard TD toss to his right. Grieb added the convert.
Two plays later the Lions cut the gap as QB Caden Henry and receiver Peyton Cummings connected on a 70-yard pass-and-run scoring play, Cummings hauling in the pass and running the final 40 yards to the endzone. Kwynn Stringer kicked the convert.
The gap fell to five points (14-9) when Bishop Mac conceded a safety and St. James shot ahead when Lemalachi Betton timed it right to step in front of the receiver for an interception he returned 47 yards for the TD. Stringer added the convert.
The Celtics came back in the third quarter to go ahead for good.
Ryan Wolf hauled in a three-yard pass from Iacocca for Bishop Mac’s first TD of the quarter. The second one came on an 18-yard run up the middle by Piccioni. Grieb convert both.
The Celtics added a rouge early in the fourth quarter and then thought they’d scored a TD on a fumble recovery, but it turned out to be a play that would have ramifications on Friday’s championship game.
After a lengthy huddle involving all six referees, they identified Shoniker as the Celtic who had delivered a helmet-on-helmet blow to St. James returner Tye Cathcart as the Lion was attempting to scoop up the ball he’d fumbled right beside the goalpost. Shoniker was ejected from the game for unnecessary roughness and that will make him ineligible for the final.
Only score after that was a safety by the Lions.
- Guelph Sports Journal