OFSAA Football Festival Preview (Western Bowl): #CFC50 No. 9 Huron Heights gets their shot at knocking off #CFC50 No. 1 W. F. Herman

Feature photo courtesy of warriorsfootball.ca

I don’t think there is a better way to end the festivities than with the top team in the nation #CFC50 No. 1 W. F. Herman Green Griffins taking on the #CFC50 No. 9 Huron Heights Warriors in the Western Bowl.

With Herman on the trail to five straight OFSAA titles and Huron Heights looking to make it four banners in five years, there is no other matchup in the festival that pits two teams of this ilk against one another.

Herman had little issues getting through Windsor yet again this year, with their main struggles coming against fellow #CFC50 the Holy Names Knights. In their first contest Herman pulled away in the fourth quarter to preserve their perfect record, but in the second meeting they would be the ones who found themselves battling from behind. With their streak on the line, the Knights were leading 17-7 going into the fourth quarter, but as all elite teams do, the Green Griffins picked themselves up off the turf and battled back to claim their ninth straight WECSSAA championship. The game was a hallmark victory for a program that doesn’t get tested very often, and is a moment that Herman Head Coach, Harry Lumley, will not forget anytime soon,

“Best moment. The fourth quarter comeback against hometown rival Holy Names after making so many abnormal mistakes”

On the other hand Huron Heights had some issues of their own with another #CFC50 squad St. Maximilian Kolbe. Much like Herman, they never lost all season, but it sure was close on a few occasions versus the Mustangs. In their regular season matchup, St. Max found themselves up late in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Colin Grant put on his marching boots to lead a mind numbing drive which saw him carry the ball the whole way to the end zone to dash the Mustangs dreams of an upset,

“After struggling in a game mid-way through the season, all the critics came out of the woodwork and began to question our metal.” Huron Heights Head Coach, Heath Weir, says. “But watching the boys in the YRAA championship (v.s St. Max) execute our game plan with surgical like precision was exciting. We literally couldn’t draw it up on paper any better. This will be our fourth bowl game in the past five years. It’s special because everyone is already counting us out. We love proving all the critics wrong.”

Get an ice pack ready for your neck watching this one, because there will be a lot of guys fighting for your attention. Each team has #CFC100 representatives playing, with defensive linemen/tight end Quintin Seguin suiting up for the Green Griffins, and Huron Heights sporting a pair of #CFC100 studs in defensive back Danny McWhirter and offensive lineman Mathew Goodall. In particular you will want to watch for Seguin busting down the seam for big receptions, and McWhirter fielding punts after breaking a couple for touchdowns already this season.

That is just a sprinkle of the talent on display, however, with the quarterback duel between the aforementioned Grant and Herman’s Michael Beale being one to keep an eye on with both programs running very different offences. Huron Heights enjoys the moniker “Fear the Veer”, which is a testament to their run heavy offence that is designed to pummel opponents into submission,

“We saw one of their games and they are a very big, well coached team.” says Lumley. “They pound you on the ground with their Navy type offence which is relentless”

The respect is shared by Weir as well, who knows that Herman’s more balanced offensive attack has led them to the top spot in the nation,

“Herman is the number one ranked team in the country for a reason. They present some unique challenges and we will have to be at our best to get it done. But we do what we do and we believe we do it well.”

A big part of Herman’s success this year has been running back Branden McCraney, who scored five touchdowns earlier in the playoffs and is ripe to break ankles at anytime. He has received plenty of help along the way from his fullback Cody Holmes, who is also an integral part in the Green Griffin machine. The true heart of the machine lays with the defence, however, which is led by Seguin rushing from his end spot alongside Curtis Paquette, Elijah Blythe calling the shots in the defensive backfield, and Jackson Acchione roaming around at linebacker.

If you haven’t realized it yet, of course Huron Heights has an answer at running back in Aiden Mielczarek, who can become a real load for opposing teams when the veer offence is running at it’s peak. Some other guys who have made a weekly habit of finding the end zone are Mike Strumos and Farbod Adivi, who could each become a storyline if Herman is able to shut down the duo of Grant and Mielczarek.

Although Weir has all the trust in the world in his team’s abilities, he didn’t mix words when describing their opponent on Wedneday,

“They’re good. They’re big, they’re physical, they’re fast, they’re well coached. They’re not on a 37 game win streak by mistake.”

While all of that may be true, I think you could easily say much of the same about Huron Heights – which is exactly why this matchup will be a fantastic way to close out the three days at Tim Hortons Field.

Kickoff is set for 4:00pm.


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