#CFCHSFB (ONT – GBSSA): St. Theresa’s thundering its competition

The St. Theresa’s Thunder senior team, based in Midland, ON, of the Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County (CSASC) and the Georgian Bay Secondary School Athletics (GBSSA), is doing something rarely seen in high school football.

The school is in just its second season with a senior program and their fourth season as a football program, of any sort. Their first two seasons were less than successful, which is to be expected. The two junior programs went a combined 3-7 over the two seasons, including a one-point playoff loss in their second season.

However, the start of 2014 brought the start of something special at St. Theresa’s


This was the third year for the junior program, and the inaugural senior team in school history also hit the field for the first time in 2014. Although the school’s senior team was less than competitive, going 0-5 before folding in their freshman season, their junior team stood foot at the completely opposite end of the spectrum.

The team, mostly made up of Grade 10’s, were .500 after their first two games, after winning over the Patrick Fogarty Flames, one of two wins against them on the year, and then losing to a difficult OD/Park Trojans team. They then reeled off four straight victories against, including their second against the Flames, and one win each against the Nottawasaga Pines Timberwolves, Barrie Central Phoenix, and Bradford Buccaneers.

That 5-1 record would earn them a bye to the semis on November 3, where they would meet up with the Flames for the third time on the season. Once again, although by the slimmest of margins, the Thunder came out with a win, 21-20, against a much improved Patrick Fogarty squad to move on to the championship final on November 7. Their opponent was the Bradford Buccaneers, who, in an absolute shocker, stunned the undefeated Trojans in the other semi-final.


The championship final was easily the game of the year, and probably the game of the last four or five football seasons.

The Buccaneers, who did a complete 180 in the final third of the regular season and into the playoffs, held a commanding 26-0 lead at the half and appeared to have the championship all but secured. The Thunder, though, had something else on their minds. They staged a massive comeback in the second half, which saw six St. Theresa’s touchdowns, including one off a botched onside kick that went through three Buccaneers’ hands right into the hands of a Thunder. They outscored the Flames 44-18, winning a wild one 44-40 to take their first ever championship in only the program’s third season.


In 2015, the two teams flipped positions on the spectrum, with the juniors having lost the majority of their talent and the seniors gaining many of the bodies from the championship game a year ago.

The special part about the seniors’ season in 2015 though, is the fact that the team was, all but for about six or seven players, full of Grade 11’s. This is remarkable in that, on most senior teams, Grade 11’s hardly see the field unless they are extremely talented. This team had most of an entire starting lineup of rookie seniors.

With a new sports system in place separating public and catholic teams in Simcoe County in 2015, they would play against fewer teams and play the same team more often. They would pick up two wins in the regular season against the  St. Pete’s Panthers, three wins against the Patrick Fogarty Flames, and one each against the St. Joseph’s Jaguars and St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers. Their only blemish would be at the hands of the powerhouse St. Joan of Arc Knights, a perennial OFSAA favourite.

They took their 7-1 advanced to a semi-final game against the Flames on November 10, in what was their fourth meeting of the season. This would also be the second consecutive year the two schools have matched up in a semi-final, last year being at the junior level. The Flames would provide a very meager opposition in this one, as the Thunder rolled to a convincing 36-3 victory. That win set up a grudge match with the Stingers in the CSASC final on, of all days, Friday the 13th, after they squeaked past the Jaguars in the other semi.


The Stingers were sure to be a much bigger challenge for St. Theresa’s than they had endured three days earlier against Patrick Fogarty. However, despite, a valiant effort from St. Thomas Aquinas, they were unable to get past the much tougher, hard-nosed and talented Thunder squad. St. Theresa’s allowed the Stingers to hang around, but never relinquished the lead. They would go on to take the game 21-10, securing the school’s 2nd straight football title, and their first for a senior program in only its second year of operation.

With that win, the Thunder advanced to the OFSAA ‘AA’ bowl series, with their first game slated for Tuesday in the nation’s Capital.


The Thunder made the long trip up to Ottawa to face a hometown squad, interestingly enough, also called the St. Joseph’s Jaguars, from the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association (NCSSAA). Unfortunately for the Thunder, this version of the Jaguars was a bit too much to handle. They trailed 11-0 after one and 32-6 at halftime. But, they did not concede defeat. They would outscore the Jaguars 22-10 in the second half, but, in the end, St. Theresa’s would lose for just the second time all season, by a score of 42-28.

The hard-fought loss ended an amazing two-year run that players don’t expect to end anytime soon.

“I expect to see improvement from everyone, including myself,” said quarterback and punter Brendan Hrynczak. “There is always more room for it. I just hope we can be as successful next year as we were this year. I am very proud of this team.”


This group has clearly formed a winning culture that has driven them to tremendous success.

“Establishing a winning culture is [very] important,” mentioned centre Brandon Johnson. “Everyone loves to win and everyone loves to watch and be a part of a winning team. When guys see that the work they put into practice translates to wins on the field, it makes them want to practice more.”

Another thing that goes along with a winning culture is the team gelling together as a united front.

“Winning as a team brings the team closer, creating a bond that can’t be broken between the players of the team.” commented safety Brody Moreau. “It creates harder work on and off the field, making the players determined to win the next game, focusing on not letting their teammates down.”

“The chemistry is amazing; we all click,” added Hrynczak. “All of us have adapted to one another’s play style and it has really made our team better and successful.”


The team constantly carries around an abundance of confidence and a mindset that they can and will win every single game.

“If you have your mindset in the right place you can play to your true potential,” Moreau said. “Come into the game thinking you can take the victory with hard work, being confident enough to carry through these actions to the game. If you are able to keep the mindset to victory you can achieve a successful season.”

With many returning players from last years junior squad, this season played out very much like last year.

“[This season was] a lot like last year,” said Johnson. “We have been a second half team. We had some slow starts but we always seem to bring it back in the second half. The only difference this year is we are playing senior ball now instead of junior.”


In any sport at any level, off-field relationships with your teammates is key to success. This is especially the case in high school, and the Thunder know it.

“Off-field friendships and relationships carry onto the field immensely throughout the season,” Moreau mentioned. “The heart of the team is working as a whole. If the entire team cannot get along the team will not operate at 100%. It will create many different teams and groups within the team, creating division between the players.”

What this team did in only its second year as a senior program and being made up of mostly rookies, is something truly special

“It shows that our team has a lot of skill and we know what we are doing,” alluded Johnson. “We are a tight knit group of guys that have been playing together for three years now [and] we have good communication with each other as well which is always a plus.”

Without a quarterback, there is no team, and without a team, none of this success happens. It is Hrynczak’s job to lead the charge, and it is a job he takes very seriously.

“I think that I can be a good leader when I am called upon to do so, but I lead by example,” he said. “I think my biggest strengths are being aware of where the pass rush is. I’m very aware of whats going on around me in the pocket and what I’m up against when I’m scrambling,” he added. “I can make quick reads when scrambling, but I’m not the fastest runner by any means. I am usually pretty good at seeing holes and hitting them, but other than that, I have a lot of work to do.”


Maybe even more important than a good quarterback, though, is a knowledgable and dedicated coaching staff.

“The coaches are what bring our team truly together,” stated Moreau. “They devote countless hours out of their lives to do research, preparing us for what we need to know for the next games, making sure we can execute in pressured situations, and helping us off the field with our education. The coaches become our friends and do the best they can for us and we return the favours.”

Despite all the success this group has accomplished over the last two years, at both levels, there is still room for improvement.

“I think a big thing we can improve on for next season is just coming out to practice and keeping a level head,” said Johnson. “We all need to look at every game as a new game and no matter what the outcome, we win and lose as a team. All we have to do is take it week by week and we will be back to OFSAA before we know it.”



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