OFSAA Football Bowl Preview (Central Bowl): Top 10 clash sees #CFC50 No. 2 A. N. Myer take on #CFC50 No. 10 Jacob Hespeler

Take extra precaution to strap yourself in tight for this one, as the #CFC50 No.3 A. N. Myer Marauders take on the #CFC50 No.10 Jacob Hespeler Hawks with the OFSAA Central Bowl up for grabs.

When it gets down to the final teams at the festival there is little room for error, and that statement may be best exemplified in this matchup that pits two of the top programs in the country against one another. With a combined record of 17-0, losing is not a feeling that either group is familiar with, but for one unfortunate team their streak will have to end at Tim Hortons Field – just don’t ask me which team that might be.

When you take a look at the Marauders production this year, they’ve been one of the most dominant teams in the nation who have caused fits for their opponents with a deadly aerial attack led by #CFC100 quarterback Tre Ford. Scoring points in bunches has been Myer’s domain with five games scoring 40+ points, two games with 50+ points, and then just in case you weren’t impressed yet, they dropped 71 in their regular season finale. In an odd scheduling quirk, the season finale was Myer’s last divisional game of the year after advancing directly to the SOSSA finals, meaning they had roughly three weeks off before having to battle #CFC50 Denis Morris for a chance to dance at the festival. This might have led to their most impressive victory of the year, where they proved that they’re a team who also has thick skin after staving off a second half comeback in a 31-24 victory.

Myer Special Teams Coordinator and Offensive Assistant, Rob Colosimo, knows that his team’s previous bowl game experience is a huge asset if they ever find themselves in a tight game,

“The team is focused and familiar with OFSAA being there the last few years. They know what they have to do to get things done on the big stage.”

The bowl experience mentioned above may be the main difference between these two programs. While Myer is looking for a three-peat at this year’s festival, this will be the first appearance for Hespeler after stringing together a flawless regular season out of Waterloo County.

With that said, make no mistake that the Hawks have earned their way to Hamilton on a similar path that resembles their opponents. After making a statement early with four straight shutout victories to begin the year, Hespeler eventually went on to outscore league opponents 330-20 en route to a birth in the CWOSSA playdowns. That is where adversity would strike for the first time as the #CFC50 St. David Celtics took them to the brink of death, but as all great teams do, the Hawks survived on a last second field goal thanks to the golden boot of Darrian Morgan. While some doubt may have crept in after their close semifinals thriller, Hespeler dusted themselves off in the CWOSSA finals with a swift dusting of #CFC50 Guelph CVI by a score of 44-14.

Jacob Hespeler Head Coach, Greg White, is extremely proud of his players for completely buying in, and committing themselves to a team concept that has led them to the final week in Hamilton,

“As a staff we are very proud of how disciplined our team has been. Also very proud of the commitment level by our players. Football specific we allowed very few points and had minimal turnovers.”

Although nothing is impossible, it will be tough for the Hawks to allow few points facing a Myer offence who has averaged 48.8 points per game. Hespeler’s defence will have their hands full facing the previously mentioned Tre and twin brother #CFC100 Tyrell Ford, who is about as dynamic as it gets for a high school player. Just to give you a glimpse into the talents both brothers have, Tre put together back to back games this season where he threw five and six touchdown passes – he was also pulled at halftime in each game – while Tyrell Ford has proven himself on both sides of the ball collecting interceptions on defence and touchdowns on offence all season long. A dangerous thing an opponent can do, however, is focus all their attention on shutting down the highly publicized brothers, and ignore the rest of the talent the Marauders have at their disposal,

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“Our team is always recognized by the Ford brothers, but we have numerous players that fly under the radar that are heavily recruited and can compete with the best in the country.” says Colosimo. “This is why we believe we can be the number one team in Canada.”

Those flying under the radar on a star studded offence are Rushon Dagelman, Tyler Hildebrand, Rico Charbonneau, Brendan Karagias, Jake Andrews, and Dallas Bone – just to name a few. One player who has made a huge impact on both offence and defence is Tyler Scholz, who has multiple interceptions to go along with a handful of receiving touchdowns this season, making him a big play threat at almost any time in the game. The Marauders’ front four has also been a force in the trenches led by Austin Potter, Troy Colosimo and Jackson Maves.

And it’s a good thing that Myer has all that talent, because they will likely need every warm body to pull off a victory over an equally talented Hespeler team. The man running the show under centre has been Jackson White, who will hurt you just as quickly with his legs as he will his arm. White has put together many flashy performances this year, but most impressive may have been in the Hawks come from behind victory versus St. David when he threw a 54 yard touchdown strike, and added his second rushing touchdown to tie the game in the final minutes. That touchdown strike went to one of his favourite targets Xavier Pineda, who should play a big role in this one along with fellow touchdown machine Devante Hudson. Some other Hawks who should factor heavily into the outcome of this one are Elijah Cruickshank, Mario Alyas, and Carlos Galindo.

With the real backbone of their team being the defence led by Mario Pineda and Jared Beeksma, White is telling his team to stick to the basics, and worry about playing their game no matter who the opponent may be,

“Discipline. Play Jacob Hespeler football.” White puts it bluntly. “We try to be up tempo on offence with a good balance between run and pass. Hopefully we are swarming on defence and positionally sound … we know they are very athletic and dynamic.”

When asked about how special it was to make Hespeler’s first bowl appearance, White expressed excitement for his fifth year players who will get a chance to end their high school career on the highest note possible. The feelings are mutual on the other sideline as well, with the Marauders never taking a birth in the festival for granted,

“We have worked even harder as a coaching staff to get here this year, and have had the entire bench contribute all year to our success.” Colosimo explains. “We never take anything for granted and appreciate each year. From the 2013 junior Metro Bowl championship, 2014 and 2015 OFSAA Bowl Championships – we take one game at a time and prepare as best we can.”

With the main message from each coach centering around having fun and enjoying the experience, it should be a great competitive atmosphere when these two #CFC50 programs take to the field.

Catch all the action on day three of the festival at Tim Hortons Field starting at 10:00am.

 

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