High school game preview (ON – SIMCOE): Possible SCAA Finals preview headlines final week of regular season


CFC50 NANTYR SHORES TRITONS (5-0)                   AT                               EASTVIEW WILDCATS (5-0)

If you had asked me before the season if I expected the Eastview Wildcats to be on par with a Nantyr Shores Tritons team that hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2015 through the first five games of the year, I would have said ‘not at all’ – but here we are. The Tritons and the Eastview Wildcats – a team that went 2-4 last season before getting trounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Barrie North Vikings – are both 5-0 heading into a marquee matchup with Nantyr to conclude the SCAA regular season.

The Tritons have had a fairly easy time with their opponents, with their closest margin of victory being a 16-point win over the Bear Creek Kodiaks in their season opener. They’ve outscored opponents 189-21 in their five wins, and have allowed just six points over their last three games, while amassing 127. The Tritons also boast a strong special teams game led by returners Steven Nobel and StevenSadl-Kolchetski, kicker Dylan Beattie and a good cover team. This is a team that has a legitimate shot to compete with the Joan of Arc Knights on the Catholic side for a chance to represent Georgian Bay at the OFSAA Bowl Festival in the last week of November.

The Wildcats are pretty good, too, and should not be discounted. They have had a less-easy time dispatching their five opponents thus far, but have still got the job done when it mattered. They won their first game 5-3 over Barrie North in what felt like more of a hockey game than a football game. They then took care of their next three opponents by an average of 23 points, before pulling out a 10-point win over the Banting Maruaders last week. They have a strong offence led by 5th-year quarterback Braidon Foster and rookies Destin Pearson (RB) and Will McCulloch (WR) and a tough defensive line and secondary anchored by linebackers Lucas and Mackenzie Smith and safety Carter Drury. All three have a nose for the ball.

This is a fascinating matchup in so many respects. What is going to give? Will Nantyr’s stiff defence and lethal offence do the Wildcats in? Or can the big three on offence and the ball hawks at linebacker and corner for the Wildcats be the difference? One teams perfect record has to go – it’s anyone’s guess whose it will be.

Nantyr expects a tough challenge from a well-rounded Wildcats’ squad.

“Eastview is a strong team on both sides of the ball,” Tritons’ coach Jeff Rosar said. “We will have to be disciplined in practice and in [the] game to exploit their mistakes.”

For Eastview, they also know what they are up against; they realize this is a veteran team who have been in the system for a while. They are keying in on the Tritons’ ground game as well as eliminating the screen pass from Nantyr’s offensive repertoire.

“Nantyr has outscored their opponents 189-21 and have done so with a primarily seasoned team of Grade 12 and Grade 12+ players,” said Wildcats’ coach Mark Welch. “Their running game poses a big challenge for us and we will have to concentrate on stopping their backs and their screen game as well.”

The Tritons have been less focussed on what the Wildcats offer and more on themselves, believing if they do that, the results will take care of themselves.

“[The] focus has been cleaning up what we do and not necessarily worrying about what they do,” Rosar said.

Along that line, the Tritons coaching staff has been preaching to their team not to look at the standings and preparing for game day just as they would against any other opposition.

“We’re not looking at records,” Rosar said. “Were taking it as another week, working hard on everything we do well and working on improving what we don’t do well. ‘One play at a time’ has been our motto all season.”

Eastview’s message to their team this week: play up to your potential, play to win, but if you don’t, it’s better to lose now than next week.

“Our message this week is to simply tell our kids that if they play as best as they can, and to their full potential, that this will be a great game,” Welch said. “A game between two undefeated teams is always exciting, but we would rather lose a game to Nantyr today than one in the playoffs.”

Strong, consistent quarterback play is the backbone of any team, and when they’re successful, they’re often the main reason why. Both teams have been impressed with the performances of their signal-callers so far this season.

“Spencer Cropper has done an amazing job leading our team on the offensive end,” Rosar said. “His decision-making and leadership is a huge part of our success.”

“For us to get where we are we have had to rely on Braidon Foster, our [fifth year] QB,” Welch said of his pivot. “He has been a great leader for our team this year.”

As we mentioned, Nantyr hasn’t exactly had a great deal of difficulty winning games so far this season, being victorious by an average of over four touchdowns. However, to say it has all been easy sledding for the Tritons would be a fallacy according to Rosar.

“The scores in our games don’t depict how hard we have been working at practice,” he said. “Nothing for us comes easy – we preach being focused and disciplined in every aspect of our day on and off the field.”

Eastview will, once again be relying on their core pieces, and a couple other players who have been noticeable throughout the season, to have strong performances in this one.

“Our Offence will rest on the shoulders of Pearson, Foster and McCulloch,” Welch said. “Our Defence will rely on Mackenzie and Lucas Smith, linebacker Cam Vanbodegom and linemen Coddie Penfold and Wes Binnie.”

Nantyr’s chance at victory lies in the play of their special teams, which is a catalyst for the rest of the team, and does an excellent job of being a tone-setter early in games.

“Special teams!” said Rosar when asked for keys to his team’s success. “When our specials make an impact, our offence and defence feeds off them and it sets the tone for our team.

“Having both Stevens (Noble & Sadl)  receiving the ball makes us very dangerous,” he continued. “However, both of them will tell you it’s not so much them it’s the rest of the guys blocking downfield opening holes that has helped our special teams really make an impact. Also [kicker] Dylan Beattie on punts pins teams deep in their end of the field which motivates our [defence] to come out ready.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon at Eastview in Barrie.

Photos courtesy of: Innisfil Examiner; Barrie Examiner; Collingwood Connection



QB – Spenser Cropper
SB/RB – Dave Johnson
DB/KR – Steven Sadl-Kolchetski
S/KR – Steven Noble


QB – Braidon Foster
RB – Destin Pearson
WR – Will McCulloch
S – Carter Drury
LB – Mackenzie Smith
LB – Cam Vanbodegom


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