Grens Revamped defence steps up against Bulldogs

A new-look defence and a terrific time-chewing drive in the fourth quarter were central factors in the Limestone Grenadiers’ 21-10 victory over the Brampton Bulldogs in Saturday’s Ontario Varsity Football League game at Loyalist Collegiate.


The defence, which featured a three-man line and four linebackers, repeatedly hampered and hindered the visitors, frustrating them with an ever-changing array of stunts, twists and blitzes.

“We were down one lineman, so (defensive co-ordinator) Bob Mullen implemented a three-man-front defence this week and the kids executed exceptionally well,” said head coach Ken Dearborn.

Integral to the triumph — which levelled Kingston’s record at 1-1 — was the play of lineman Alan Hodgekinson. The 5-foot-9, 245-pound Brockville boy, assigned by Mullen to go head-to-head against the Bulldog centre, won that battle decisively, punishing his opponent both physically and mentally.

“From watching film, we could see (the Brampton centre) was having some difficulty with certain snaps,” explained Mullen. “We tried to exploit that.”

Mission accomplished, thanks in large part to Hodgekinson.

Twice, on successive first-quarter possessions and with the impassioned Kingston nose tackle breathing into his face-mask, the unnerved Brampton centre sailed shotgun-formation snaps over the head of his quarterback.
Kingston recovered both fumbles and quickly turned the turnovers into 10 crucial points.

“Alan had a fantastic game,” noted Mullen. “He demanded two people on him for much of the game, which really opened it up in terms of what we could do.

“It’s funny because Alan was getting a bit frustrated (with the double-team),” he added. “We told him he was collecting a centre and a guard and allowing someone else to exploit the gap.”

Also turning in yeoman performances were predatory linebackers Jacob Harpell, Dylan Howes, Dustin Girard and Simon Ryder-Burbidge, who currently leads the OVFL in tackles.

Holy Cross product Cory Flude added a safety and half of his team’s four sacks while Sydenham lads Chris Shibley and Nathan Moyse, the latest in a string of skilled deep backs from the north country, each recorded an interception.

Running back Josh Thompson carried 24 times for 133 yards and one major. Torrin Clinkinboomer, who shared pivot duties with Derek Wendel, tallied the other touchdown while kicker Alex Cowle added two converts and a field goal and the defence chipped in with two safeties.

The new defence, aka 30-Stack, essentially replaces a lineman with an extra linebacker.

“We threw it together at practice this week and tweaked it right up until game time,” said Mullen. “In fact I think we were still scratching some things in the dirt at halftime.”

Leading 19-9 at the midway point, the G-Men coaching staff thought long and hard about whether to take the wind in the third quarter or in the fourth.
They opted for the former.

“Brampton was on somewhat of a roll and we wanted to stem the tide,” reasoned Dearborn.

Kingston stalled whatever momentum the Bulldogs built with a late first-half score. But they also failed to create any of its own during the scoreless period.

Early in the fourth quarter, against a stiff, steady breeze, the offence gave the defence a timely gift– rest. The G-Men put together a key 70-yard drive that gobbled a full eight minutes off the time-clock.

“That was absolutely huge,” added Dearborn on the minute-munching march. “All the credit to the players who made the passes, the catches, the runs, the blocks. It was just a great, efficient drive.”

The varsity squad is away the next two Saturdays, in Barrie and Cumberland, respectively, before returning home to host Ottawa Myers Riders June 26 at LC.

The junior G-Men, meanwhile, dropped to 0-2 following a 33-13 thumping at the hands of the junior Bulldogs.

Jean-Luc Richardson, on a 31- yard run, and Carson Andrews, on a 55-pass play from quarterback Tyler Filson, scored touchdowns in a losing cause.

“Too many mistakes, too many bad decisions and too many long plays for the other team,” said head coach Ron Dickey. “We’ve got lots of things to correct.”

Dickey said the team is actively seeking additional coaching support, particularly on defence. Anyone interested should contact Dickey at 353-6374.


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