ONT (Peel): CFC#44 Panthers remain undefeated & on top of the North

CFC#44 St.Marguerite  d’Youville Panthers travelled to St. Roch to take on the CFC#43 Ravens.  The winner of this game would be first place in Peel’s north division.

Once again, d’Youville’s defense looked relentless and extremely physical.  Early on, the Panthers found themselves defending on their own 5 yard line due to their offense fumbling the ball in their own red zone. The Ravens attempted to run the ball in for the score, but d’Youville’s defense refused to let them into the endzone on all 3 downs. On the ensuing drive, d’Youville’s offense once again fumbled the ball on their own 3 yard line, where the Ravens defense scooped the ball and opened up the scoring.

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Field position and clock management played a huge part in the entire first half.  The Panthers continued to pressure Roch’s QB and eventually, safety Chris Vitale picked off a Raven pass to give d’Youville some great field position near the end of the second quarter.  Then, the Panthers pounded the ball all the way down to Roch’s 25 yard line, where kicker Shawn Dogra kicked a 32 yard field goal to end the first half at 7-3 for the Ravens.

In the third quarter, d’Youville’s defense did not allow Roch to move the ball and had some big hits on their QB. The Panthers pinned the Ravens deep on their own 20 yard line where they were forced to punt.  However, after a previous blocked kick, d’Youville sent a massive blitz on Roch’s punt team where DE Martin Manhertz knocked the ball out of the punters hands, and then the ball was recovered by DE Justin Brum for a touchdown.  The score was now 10-7 for d’Youville.

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Later in the third quarter d’Youville put together another huge drive which was capped off when QB Ben Bortolussi connected on a 24 yard pass with WR Josh Sabino. The Panthers were now up 17-7.

Late in the fourth quarter. With little time remaining in the game the Ravens connected on three big passes to put them into d’Youville’s red zone.  With only 1:15 remaining, Roch QB Kyle Gouveia connected on a 12 yard pass to Akeem Knowles and added a two-point conversion to bring the score to 17-16 Panthers.

Naturally, St. Roch attempted an onside kick, but kicked it out of bounds and d’Youville took possession on the 53 yard line.  The Ravens were forced to use their timeouts to stop the clock, but d’Youville decided to go for it on 3rd down instead of risking a punt.  With only 0:55 remaining in the game, QB Kyle Gouveia attempted a deep pass but it was picked off by Panthers FS Michael Smith to secure the victory.

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LB Damian Halstead was named the Marchant School Sports Athlete of the Week by CityTv News.  Once again, his leadership and physicality on defense was nothing short of amazing.

With the win, the Panthers remain undefeated and move to first place in the north with a record of 5-0-1.  d’Youville has not lost a regular season game in Peel since week two of the 2011 season.

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When asked about his team’s win, head coach J.P. Falacho said, “This is a character win for us.  We knew that this game would be a battle for 48 minutes. Roch has a solid team, but our players stayed focused on their jobs, and I believe we proved why our defense is the best in the league.”

Next Friday, the Panthers will host the Notre Dame Knights in their first annual ‘Tackle the Cure’ game at 12:00 noon.  The game will raise money for Princess Margaret Breast Cancer Research Centre.

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