Knights take Capital Bowl

Knights 37, Mustangs 22

Alex Skinner started the final season of his high school football career with a Thursday-night, under-the-lights bang in one country, which earned him 15 minutes of fame in September.

But he finished his gridiron year with an even bigger Wednesday-afternoon, under-the dome explosion in his homeland, which gave him provincial champion status.

Almost three months after opening his senior year by throwing four touchdown passes for the Largo High School Packers in Largo, Florida, the quarterback used his arm and legs to close his year by directing St. Peter Knights to their second National Capital Bowl AAA/AAAA championship in five years and an undefeated 10-0 season.

Skinner, who had a mixed experience playing in one of the hotbeds of American interscholastic football and returned home to Ottawa around Thanksgiving, fired two touchdown passes and ran for one touchdown as the Knights defeated the error-prone Crestwood Mustangs of Peterborough 37-22 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

It also was Crestwood’s third straight loss in the final.

Relaxed among his long-time teammates and playing in the middle game of five Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ regional championships at the former SkyDome, Skinner tossed a 10-yard touchdown strike to slotback Steve Masterson with 31 seconds left in the first half, and connected with Nick Wakim on a 55-yard pass-and-run play to end the scoring with 2:23 remaining in the game.

“The nail that ended the game was when he (Skinner) ran a bootleg and threw over the top to Nick Wakim,” said head coach Jim Mick in a telephone interview.

Wakim’s game-clinching touchdown came 15 seconds after the charging Mustangs closed their deficit to 30-22 on a one-yard touchdown run by Connor Blanchfield, capping the Mustangs’ second longest drive (57 yards) of the day. St. Peter led 27-8 at the half.

“He made some nice reads, threw a good ball and was fully relaxed,” Mick said about Skinner, who quarterbacked the last three games, after sharing the job with Ryan Begin in the second half of their National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association season.

Begin sprained his right knee in the city final and was restricted to placement kicking and punting, which he excelled at Wednesday.

Skinner, who completed 7 of 12 passes for more than 150 yards, showed his versatility in the second quarter with a 21-yard touchdown run, after the Mustangs’ pass coverage left him only one option.

Begin kicked field goals of 46 and 14 yards, four converts and a single off a missed 34-yard field goal. He averaged more than 35 yards on his punts, which were usually directed out of bounds.

First-year running back Isaiah Harris scored the other St. Peter touchdown on a third-and-goal gamble from the one-yard line in the first quarter. He led all running backs with 91 yards on 14 carries.

Crestwood punter Dylan Kemp conceded a safety for the Knights other points.

The Mustangs received touchdowns from Evan Grieger, a 20-yard pass from Kemp; Stephen Hons, an 11-yard run that capped an 82-yard drive to open the third quarter; and Blanchfield. Ben Nanni kicked three converts and a game-opening single.

“When you go through this it’s a long, long haul,” Mick said. “I’m very happy for the kids. They deserve it.

“As a coaching staff, we put kids in postitions to make plays, but it’s their responsibility to make the plays. They made a lot of good football plays (Wednesday).”

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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