High school roundup PLAYOFFS (ON – SIMCOE) [9]: Stingers, CFC50 Knights and CFC50 Tritons win league championships

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Last week was Finals Week in Simcoe County. After all quarter and semi-finals went down as predicted, the field was whittled down to six.

In CSASC, it was the St. Theresa’s Thunder in tough against the powerhouse St. Joan of Arc Knights in the ‘AAA’ championship, and the St. Joseph’s Jaguars looking to capture a championship for their injured teammate – Zech Jagmohan – against the 4-1 St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers in the ‘AA’ title game.


‘AAA’ Final – Wednesday, November 8

[3] St. Theresa’s Thunder (4-3) vs. [1] St. Joan of Arc Knights (6-0)

In the first game of a CSASC finals double-header last Wednesday, it was the St. Joan of Arc Knights looking to win their third straight CSASC title since the league’s inception in 2015, against the St. Theresa’s Thunder, aiming to pull off the massive upset.

The Knights would get an early pick-six from defensive back Jordan Travis, his second pick six of the season, which made it 7-0 Knights. Later in the first quarter, it would be Issachar Sookwah continuing his monster season, adding yet another major to his total, and making it 14-0 JOA.

In the second quarter, the Knights poured it on. Jeremy Hussey would catch a pass from Justin Winn and take it all the way to the house, making it 21-0. Then, after a rouge from Travis made it 22-0, Sookwah would do what he does best, and run in his second score of the day from close range to put the Knights up by 29. Before the half was out, JOA would hit paydirt for a fifth time in the game, when Justin Janicki, in for Sookwah, took a hand-off and busted his way in to make it 36-0 Knights after 24 minutes.

Despite the scoreline seeming rather lopsided, it wasn’t for a lack of effort from the Thunder. They weren’t making things easy for the Knights’ offence; their talent was simply winning out. The Knights would rest most of their starters in the second half, including Winn and Sookwah. Rookie Daniel Hawthorne took over at quarterback, while Janicki got the lion’s share of the reps at running back. The Knights would also start experimenting with players at different positions – even playing guys on the other side of the ball – and getting other receivers involved in the offence.

The Thunder controlled most of the play in the second half – albeit against many Knights’ reserves – only surrendering a safety on what would have been a punt from their own end zone. They drove the field a couple of times in the third, but were unable to score, and then in late in the fourth, were able to cap off a drive with some points. Most of the work was done by running back Zech Willems, who was the one to finish off the drive with a nice run to the inside, where he eluded a few different defenders and found his way to the end zone. The Thunder would go for two, which they converted, and they were down 38-8.

The Knights were then able to drain out the clock and take the 38-8 victory, securing themselves yet another berth in the GBSSA Final going back to before the Public and Catholic Boards separated into two leagues after the 2014 athletic year. They would now wait to face the winner of the SCAA final between the Bear Creek Kodiaks and the CFC50 Nantyr Shores Tritons.

‘AA’ Final – Wednesday, November 8

[2] St. Joseph’s Jaguars (3-4) vs. [1] St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers (5-2)

In the second game of the Wednesday double-dip, the St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers headed in as the overwhelming favourites against the St. Joe’s Jaguars in the CSASC ‘AA’ final. The Jaguars’ only two wins on the season came against the lowly Patrick Fogarty Flames, while the Stingers’ two losses in the regular season both came at the hands of the ‘AAA’ champions from St. Joan of Arc.

And it was the Stingers who came out and asserted their dominance early and often. They clearly showed why they were the second-best team in CSASC this season, as their core players stepped up with big performances. They put the pedal to the medal early on both sides of the football, and didn’t allow the Jaguars to put anything together on offence. At the end of the day, it was the Stingers coming away with a resounding 43-0 win, and with it, the CSASC ‘AA’ crown.

Stingers’ Head Coach Terry Posylek was under the impression that the Stingers would move onto the ‘AA’ National Capital Bowl, which is an unofficial OFSAA event for some of the province’s smaller schools. However, he found out two days before their Final against the Jaguars that there would be no ‘AA’ Bowl game, meaning the Stingers’ season would end last Wednesday regardless of the result.

“[OFSAA] doesn’t offer any ‘official’ AA playoff scheme or bowl festival options,” Posylek said in an email. “This to me seems to be the real story – why OFSAA doesn’t offer anything other than a AAA football bowl festival opportunity. A good question I think.”

Posylek is pleased with the progress of his program in recent years, as four players (QB and DB/S Talon Horst,LB/RB, Justin Defaria,WR/CB Cole Verlinde, and LB/Long Snapper Riley Wilson  have been recruited by University scouts: “This is very encouraging when we reflect on where we have come from over the past few years, and where we hope to be in the next few years,” he said.

‘AAA’ Champions – CFC50 St. Joan of Arc Knights (Advance to GBSSA Final)
‘AA’ Champions – St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers


SCAA Final – Thursday, November 9

[3] Bear Creek Kodiaks (6-1-1) vs. [1] CFC50 Nantyr Shores Tritons (8-0)

The Bear Creek Kodiaks and CFC50 Nantyr Shores Tritons did it all again last Thursday in the SCAA Final, 364 days after Bear Creek pulled off the upset in last year’s title game and advanced to the GBSSA Championship.

The Kodiaks came in having won six consecutive games including playoffs, while the Tritons entered Thursday suffering just a single loss in the last two seasons – the 2016 SCAA Final to these same Kodiaks. They were using that as motivation to exact some revenge against Bear Creek and get a shot at the Joan of Arc Knights with an OFSAA appearance at stake.

These were two teams riding extreme highs, but the Tritons were the better team from start to finish in this one. First, on the second Tritons’ possession, they drove the ball downfield from just across midfield down to the 2 yard line, where running back Dave Johnson plowed it in to put the Tritons up 7-0 after a Dylan Beattie PAT. And they were just getting started.

Later in the first, after a Kodiaks’ punt and an incomplete pass on first down, a screen pass was dumped off to Steven Noble – who has shown himself to be lethal in the return game for Nantyr – and he took it all the way to paydirt, after making several would-be tacklers miss, to make it 14-0 Tritons. They would add a single point on a punt from Beattie, and take a 15-0 lead after one.

It was more of the same in the 2nd, as the Tritons continued to dominate on both sides of the ball. In fact, they didn’t allow the Kodiaks a first down until halfway through quarter number two. Offensively, they continued to pile on the touchdowns. First, it was Jordan Austin – off a broken play that saw QB Spencer Cropper scrambling to find a receiver – managing to get open over the middle. He would walk in untouched after making the reception, and that put the Tritons in complete control, up 22-0.

But they weren’t done. After (another) big punt return from Noble that set the Tritons up with excellent field position – inside the Bear Creek 30 – they would strike again. After a 10-yard completion along with an unnecessary roughness penalty tacked on, it became 1st and goal from the 5. Austin would, on the very next play, run it into the end zone – again untouched – to make it 29-0. Then, Beattie would join the party as he ripped off a huge run that found the house, making it 36-0 Tritons at the half.

They would rest their entire starting unit in the second half, which allowed Bear Creek to finally put some drives together, but none resulted in points. Nantyr added a conceded safety in the second half, and captured the SCAA Championship in convincing fashion with a 38-0 win over the Kodiaks. The Tritons did what they couldn’t do one year ago, and did so in a game where the score was glaringly indicative of how the game was played. With their latest victory, the Tritons punched their ticket to tomorrow’s GBSSA Final against the Joan of Arc Knights with a spot in the National Capital Bowl up for grabs.

This is a very important win for a senior program that has come so far over the last two seasons.

“This game’s really important to us. It’s kind of a personal game since last year our team lost to Bear Creek in the SCAA [Finals],” Austin said, “so this game meant a lot to everyone out here and we came out hard and we needed this win.”

Offensively for the Tritions, they were firing on all cylinders, but it was the run that set everything up.

“Our running game was perfect in the start of the [game], and we had amazing blocks in the open field,” Austin said. “We just kept pounding down, the first downs kept coming, and they couldn’t stop us.

Defensively, they put on a clinic, and it’s not all that surprising considering the focus in practice leading up to game day.

“It was a total [defensive] effort,” said Head Coach Clark Larmon. “We changed practice that week and went old school working on tackling and watching [the] QB.”

With the game never really in doubt, Nantyr was able to play some of its second and third stringers in the latter stages of the game. It was important for the Tritons to give some of their top players a rest, keeping them fresh for GB’s, and it was a thrill for the guys who don’t get to see a lot of game action.

“It was a bonus for us to get the 2nd line guys in; they have been extremely important to our team,” Larmon said. “They know their role and they work hard every day in practice. It was special for some of them to play in the SCAA final.”

Another key aspect to the Tritons success was dominating the field position battle. They know it will, once again, be critical in determining the outcome of tomorrow’s GBSSA Final.

“It’s huge,” Larmon said when asked the importance of flipping the field in games of this magnitude. “We know it comes down to specials to make it happen for us. All game they  set us up in great field position.

“We have already started making adjustments for a tough JOA team and it will be a great GBSSA final.”

Austin also expects to meet an intense, well-prepared Knights team in the GB Final.

“We know they’re going to be tough, but we’re going to come [out] like every other game, and we’re going to bring our gameplan,” he said. “It’s going to be a good one, but we’re coming out hard, and hopefully they come out hard, too, cause I want a good match.”


SCAA Champions: CFC50 Nantyr Shores Tritons

GBSSA Final – Thursday, November 16

[1] CFC50 St. Joan of Arc Knights (7-0) {CSASC} vs. [1] CFC50 Nantyr Shores Tritons (9-0) {SCAA} – 2:00 pm (J.C. Massie Field – Georgian College)


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