#CFC10 Previews & Predictions – VARSITY (9): The Final Countdown!

Time flies when you’re having fun and the 2015 season was no exception. Seems like just yesterday things were kicking off, yet here we are the last weekend of the regular season. Even though it’s a lighter than usually slate, there are a couple of meaningful games on tap serving as a bookend to this season.

In the OFC the final playoff spot in the OFC North will be on the line, pending the results of two games. The Sudbury Gladiators (3-4) and Halton Crimson Tide (3-4) will both be vying for the North’s final playoff spot this weekend, with the Gladiators having the inside track after last week’s 16-9 win against the Tide. Not only does Sudbury hold the tiebreaker but they seem to have the path of least resistance as well, hosting winless Nipissing to close their season while Halton has to travel to Peterborough to face the 5-2 Wolverines.

In the OVFL all the playoff invitations have been handed out, but there remains a lot to be settled as to the who plays where and when. With playoff seeding and home field at stake we’ll take a look at some of the key Varsity games to finish off the 2015 regular season.

 

CUMBERLAND PANTHERS (4-3) @ YORK SIMCOE BUCS (1-6)  – Sat. July 18th 13h00 St. Maximillian Kolbe CHS

THE MATCHUP: The Cumberland Panthers will be looking to clinch home field for next week’s wildcard games with a road win against the Bucs. Cumberland comes in 4-3 and could just as easily be 5-1 if it weren’t for two overtime losses. With the athletes to compete with anyone, the Panthers are a handful for any opponent. The Bucs will be playing out the string, looking to play spoiler and force the Panthers to take to the road for the playoffs.

PANTHERS TO WATCH: RB Baxter Balthazar, #CFC100 and OPC REC Kurleigh Gittens Jr., RB Quintin Gregory, DB Khadeem Pierre, LB Patrick Madore, LB Jaryd Rushford

BUCS TO WATCH: P/K Marc Liegghio, DB Light Ariajegbe, LB Alex Jafs

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Panthers have too much firepower and will out-athlete the Bucs across the board. Look for Cumberland to come out with a sense of urgency and crush York’s spirits early.

FINAL SCORE: CUMBERLAND 33 YORK SIMCOE 8

Justin Poitras Panthers 2015

 

#8 DURHAM WEST DOLPHINS (6-1) @ #1 MYERS RIDERS (7-0)  – Sat. July 18th 15h00 University of Ottawa

THE MATCHUP: The Dolphins have a chance to win the Wettges division with a win against Myers. With only one loss on the season a win would mean a share of the crown and obviously the Dolphins would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. That’s IF they win and that is one heck of an if.

The Riders have looked every part the champion in 2015 and haven’t lost in almost three years. The blueprint for success hasn’t changed as the Riders pass and pass some more. Myers pivot OPC award winner Jacob Spinella has found a favourite target in fellow OPC award winner Phil Iloki and together they have been causing opposing secondaries fits. Defensively the Riders will be without LB Andrew Beatty who is with Team Ontario, but have plenty of talent to maintain the level of play displayed throughout the season.

The Dolphins have plenty of talent themselves and although they haven’t blown out opponents, their 6-1 record is no fluke. An athletic, opportunistic defense which can force errors and an athlete laden offense make the Dolphins one of the best in the Wettges. Led by proven winner Mitch Van Pelt at QB the can score with the best of them and win most one on one matchups on most days.

DOLPHINS TO WATCH: QB Mitch Van Pelt, RB Raishaun Provo, RB Darnel Jarette, LB Kesean Bennett, DB Matthew Romain, DB Trey Abrahams, WR J’van Manhertz

RIDERS TO WATCH: QB Jacob Spinella, REC Phil Iloki, LB Darryl Jean-Baptiste, LB Akash Bakshi, DB Cedrick Lavigne, P/K Connor Ayre, RB/R Jalla Lansanah, DB Daniel Barker, LB Andrew Beatty (Not Playing Canada Cup)

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: As mentioned before, the Dolphins win most one on one matchups on most days….this weekend won’t be most days. The Dolphins are good, Myers better. Expect the Riders to pull away in the second half.

FINAL SCORE: MYERS 38 DURHAM WEST 20 

 

CAMBRIDGE LIONS (4-3) @ #10 SSM SABERCATS (5-2)  – Sat. July 18th 19h00 Rocky DiPietro Field

THE MATCHUP: The winner will host a first round playoff game, potentially a rematch next weekend. For those who have made the trek to the Soo, you know the home field advantage it can be, so this one is big. The Sabercats are coming off a big win over previously unbeaten and #1 Niagara. The Sabercats still have a chance at a first round bye if Mississauga can knock off Niagara in other Adam Conference action this weekend.

LIONS TO WATCH: KR/PR Nathan McLean, QB Brendan Carey, DB Riley Pilkey, REC Gordon Lam (Not Playing Canada Cup), Jared Beeksma (Not Playing Canada Cup), OL Andrew Spencer (Not Playing Canada Cup)

SABERCATS TO WATCH: LB Michael Reid, DB Lautaro Frecha, LB Nicolas Nicoletta, REC Austin Wesley

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Lions will be shorthanded and the Sabercats on a high from last week’s upset of Niagara make it two in a row and clinch a home playoff date.

FINAL SCORE: SSM 21 CAMBRIDGE 17

 

OTHER KEY GAMES:

SUDBURY GLADIATORS 44 NIPISSING WILD 6 – Sudbury should roll over Nippising clinching a birth in the 2015 postseason.

PETERBOROUGH WOLVERINES 31 NORTH HALTON CRIMSON TIDE 11 – A must win for the Tide, but unfortunately for them Peterborough will be in a foul mood after last weekend’s loss to Toronto put an end to their OFC North title hopes.

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