CFCFPC Hamilton (RECAP): Varsity Central didn’t shy away from the pressure coming away with a victory

Photo Credit: Liam Dunlop

The lights were shining bright at Tim Hortons Field for the final game of day one at the CFCFPC showcase, and it was the Varsity Central squad who were able to make the most of the opportunity walking away with a 41-3 victory over Varsity Halton-Peel.

This game actually began with a very competitive edge as each team went through a feeling out process, with a 17 yard field goal by Halton Peel’s Jared Fernandez-Brown being all either team could muster in the opening quarter. Andre Coulombe also made his presence known early with an interception deep in Central’s territory, but like the other three turnovers that littered the first quarter, no points would come from the effort.

Central’s dominance slowly picked up steam in the second frame as a combination of running backs Bankamina N’Galamumune and Ian MacLean drove Central down the field, finishing with MacLean taking it from five yards out to give his team a lead they would never relinquish. A Tremaine Shorter interception on the next possession once again put Central within striking distance, and this time they took full advantage as the Overall Game MVP CFC100 Kiondre Smith made a huge diving catch that led to a touchdown by N’Galamumune.

Offensive MVP Mason McGriskan finished 7/11 for 85 yards behind an impressive line for Central, and tossed a touchdown pass to Smith late in the second quarter, who put together a stellar outing finishing with 95 yards on six receptions.

Jake Julien with the huge 47 yard field goal to put Central Varsity up 24-3 with a minute to go in the first half. #CFCFPC

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Possibly the most impressive feat in the entire game came late in the first half as kicker Jake Julien unloaded from 47 yards out to increase Central’s lead to 24-3, and by some estimations up in the booth, he might have cleared the uprights from 60 yards out. Although there were no plans to hand one out, he was rewarded with Special Teams MVP honours for his impressive performance that left many in attendance awestruck by his ability in all three phases of the kicking game,

“It’s pretty sweet.” Julien said after the game. “I didn’t think they’d give out a Special Teams MVP, but it’s really nice to be recognized.”

Another standout and favourite target of quarterback Jonas Hatcher was CFC100 Lucas LaBrier, who finished with seven catches for 106 yards and scored on a 32 yard touchdown strike to add onto Central’s lead early in the third. Hatcher had a night to remember himself finishing 8/11 for 125 yards including the touchdown.

Both defences dug in their heels for the remainder of the game with the final score coming on a one yard run with just seconds left by Ryan McColeman to cap off the 41-3 victory for Central. Although the score looks ugly for Halton-Peel, they did have some standout plays by guys like Riley Graham who recorded a huge sack late in the first half which knocked Central out of field goal range, and Michael Lehmann who proved to be their most reliable receiver hauling in seven receptions for 61 yards. CFC100 Andy Melo also tried to provide a spark with a couple big kickoff returns to give his team good field position, and was still upbeat about the experience after the final whistle despite things not going their way,

“You know what anytime there’s a big showcase game, it’s always great having all the guys out and playing with some of my old teammates who I haven’t seen in awhile. I learned some new stuff, and anytime you get to play in a big CFL stadium like this it’s always fun.”

There were many candidates who could have taken home Defensive MVP for Central after they allowed just 135 yards as a unit, but it was Yiannis Spetsakis who was able to excel coming off the edge and received the honours for his efforts,

“Honestly, I don’t know” he said with a laugh when asked after the game what made him standout among a great group of defensive players. “I was just doing my best, I tried to figure out what was working best for each linemen, and kept doing that.”

Spetsakis went on to sum up the entire essence of the CFCFPC showcase perfectly when asked about why he enjoyed participating in the event, and the real reason why the final score that night truly didn’t matter,

“I honestly I think it was fun, I like this. I was with my school coaches and school friends all just having fun together. Also a bunch of people I know from other teams and games, so it’s just everybody coming together is really fun.”

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