#CFCHSFB (ONT – GBSSA): Barrie Central 100 year legacy enters exstinction

The Barrie Central Phoenix took the field for what could be their final game in school history with some heavy hearts last Thursday following the passing of coach Joe Lamoureux’s father in the early morning hours of game day.

They hosted the Nottawasaga Pines Timberwolves in the SCAA ‘AA’ Championship game on the famous Red Storey Field at Barrie Central in front of many students, teachers, parents and alumni. The affair was a rematch of the regular season finale from six days prior. Regardless of the outcome, this would be the final football game ever to be played on the illustrious field.

Unfortunately, it did turn out to be the final game in the history of Barrie Central Football, as the Phoenix went down to defeat by a score of 12-7.

The T’Wolves would open the scoring in the first quarter.

They would drive the ball down the field on their third drive of the game after the Central defence came out steady in the early going. They would start from around the 30-yard-line and moved the ball with excellent proficiency, while also getting some help thanks to some sloppy Phoenix tackling. Nottawasaga would get down to the 3-yard-line before Kyle Enslow ran it in from short distance to give his team a 6-0 lead following a missed 2-point conversion.


The score would stay that way until late in the second quarter when the Phoenix threatened to tie and take the lead, Josh Whyte would pick off a pass from the Timberwolves quarterback at around the 25-yard-line and got levelled immediately but was able to absorb the hit and hold on. Central would get down to the 7-yard line after a moving the sticks on a pass to Matt Eliot with approximately 10 seconds remaining on the clock. After an incomplete pass on first down, QB Matt Pigott sent a little hitch out to Curtis King, who was hit immediately after a two-yard gain and the Phoenix ran out of time as the T’Wolves defence foiled the only threat of the half from their opponents.

Nottawasaga would add to their lead in the third.

Some suspect pass coverage early in the half opened up the field for the Timberwolves and led to their second score of the day. One long pass to Donny Patton for about forty yards set up the drive and then they went back to the air a few plays later to expand the lead. The Wolves pivot found a wide open Enslow, who ran in the first TD of the day, down the near sideline. He made the grab at the 8-yard-line and scampered the rest of the way for the major and gave his club a 12-0 lead after another missed two-point convert. The score remained 12-0 through the remainder of the third frame.

In fact, it would remain a 12-point lead until about halfway through the fourth.

The Phoenix would sustain some flow on offence for the first time all afternoon, as save for the late drive at the end of the first half, they did not move the ball effectively on offence through three quarters. The drive started from the 3-yard-line after a punt pinned Central in deep. However, Pigott was able to engineer a beautiful drive that saw the Phoenix move the ball with relative ease all the way down to the T’Wolves 35. Pigott then aired it out deep down field into the end zone where his premier target Curtis King was there to make a terrific one handed catch on a ball that looked to be overthrown. That score put the Phoenix on the board with 6:51 to go and cut the Wolves lead to five after Jordan Travis made the PAT.


Unfortunately for the Phoenix, they were unable to build off the scoring drive. Both teams were forced to punt a total of five times in the last 6:51, and the Phoenix also got another interception from Whyte, who actually picked up his third INT on the afternoon on the play.

Central would have one more opportunity to score with 32 seconds remaining. After two incomplete passes from their own 30, it would all come down to a 3rd down play. Pigott dropped back to pass and looked over the middle for one of both King and Cruz Pazos who were both in the vicinity, but the pass fell incomplete, which brought an end to not only the 2015 season for the Phoenix, but also a football program at Barrie Central that began playing in 1915, exactly 100 years ago.

Nottawasaga would take over on downs and kneel out the clock to move on to the ‘AA’ GBSSA Championship against the St. Theresa’s Thunder of the CSASC (Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County) on Remembrance Day, November 11, from Rotary Place at the West Orillia Sports Complex, in Orillia, ON. That is the site for all semi-final and final playoff games, as it is a turf field and is best-suited for late November football.


Josh Whyte says a major problem for the Phoenix on this day was their lacklustre start to the game.

“We should have used the same intensity in the first half as the second,” he said. “Because we dug deep and pushed for every extra inch [in the second half]”

As well, the Phoenix were unable to get the offence rolling for the majority of the afternoon.

“I’m not 100% sure why our offence differed so much from our first game,” said wieout Jeff St. Jean, of the Phoenix’s offensive struggles. “Our first game playing them we had a different quarterback almost every play [because starting QB Matt Pigott was away on a recruitment trip with his sister] so it may have confused their defence. But a lot of the times we just didn’t have the plays going our way.”


There were many emotions running through everyone watching and playing for the Phoenix on the final play of the game. St. Jean commented on his.

“There was a mix of emotions; I wasn’t really sure what I was feeling,” he said. “It was almost disbelief because I could kind of feel our home being ripped from our very hands. It was definitely a hard fought game but I think it would’ve felt a lot better if our story had been written a little differently. There was a moment when the ball was in the air that everything was just silent and it was this sort of eerie feeling where I couldn’t really move or breathe. I saw the ball touch the ground and that’s when my stomach dropped.”

Despite ending their season one week early, there truly were countless positives to take both personally and as a team from the swan song season; things that St. Jean says will be forever entrenched within him.

“I think the leadership abilities that I have learned will really help me in the future. Also that attitude of ‘never, ever give up’ will stick with me forever,” he mentioned. “It’s one of those feelings where the scoreboard becomes invisible and you put your heart and passion into every single second of play. There were obviously fundamental skills that has improved me as an athlete but the real learning was when the whole school came together as a family and stood behind us in every battle we went up against.”


Whyte talked about the makeup of this very special team and how although it didn’t look promising in the beginning, they all persevered and worked together.

“At the season start it looked grim having only a handful of experienced players and some inexperienced players,” he mentioned. “We had about 22 players and we all worked together and helped each other out. That turned us from a team into a family and I think that helped towards our success.”

Another one of those positives is the pride the season left with current and former members of the Barrie Central family.

“The coaches and other volunteers put so much time and effort into our program that we needed to play with as much heart and skill as possible,” alluded Whyte. After every practice we thanked the coaches and every game they thanked us. I feel that we did everything possible to pay our respects to former players and coaches.”

Nottawasaga now gets set to face the Thunder on Wednesday for the GBSSA portion of the championship, while all the Phoenix can do is recall one of the most special seasons in recent memory and look forward to playing with and against each other at new Barrie schools in 2016, after Central permanently locks its doors in June.




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