#CFCOVFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: JV Myers Riders look to end heartbreaking streak

After all the waiting, the junior varsity Ottawa Myers Riders have finally gotten back to the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) championship game, which will be played Saturday in Waterloo.

All season, head coach Matt Kassner and his team have been gearing up for the final game of the playoffs, which has special significance for them given their recent history.

“Hopefully, we can break that two-game losing streak in the finals,” Kassner said, adding that the Myers Riders have lost in the championship game in two consecutive seasons, which has left an unmatched hunger for a decisive win with Kassner, his coaching staff and his players. “We are happy with where we are but we are not satisfied.”

To reach the goal the team has been shooting for all season, the undefeated Myers Riders will have to overcome the 8-1 Niagara Spears. 

I think it will take a team effort from all three aspects of the game,” Kassner said. “Special teams, offence and defence all need to work together.”

Defensively, the Spears have been dominant this season, allowing just 15 points per game to be scored. The Myers Riders have allowed slightly more at 18 points per game, creating an area of concern for Kassner as he looks to prepare his team for the clash.

Ottawa Myers Riders JV Week 5

“They have a really good front seven, so they are great at stopping the run,” Kassner said. “This whole week, we have been working on our passing quite a bit.”

“We are going to try to be as balanced as we can.”

So far this season, the Myers Riders’ offence has been led decisively by running back Jean-Paul Cimankinda, who has run for 2793 yards. Cimankinda has scored 37 touchdowns for the Myers Riders, created an obvious area of emphasis for the Spears.

“We are not hanging off any one person,” Kassner said. “If everyone steps up and plays the best game they can, we can come out on top.”

Kassner says he is working to keep his players calm and focused this week, knowing their biggest challenge still lies ahead.

“It feels good for now, but we have been in this situation the last two years as well,” he said. “We know that the last game is always the toughest.”

Whether he finally wins a championship or he losses another bitter heartbreaker, Kassner says it should be a great game between two solid teams.

“We have prepared as much as we can, so we just need to execute the game plan and play hard,” added Kassner.


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