OVFL GAME PREVIEW: Varsity Spears ready for tough game against Ironmen

The Ontario Varsity Football League season is entering its fifth week and it doesn’t get any easier with only four games left on tap. When the Niagara Spears take on the Hamilton Ironmen on Saturday night, they expect a tough matchup at Kiwanis Field.

“Hamilton is always a tough opponent to prepare for. We are looking to play a full game of football as we are yet to do that all season thus far,” Nathan Zavarella, the assistant coach, said.

“Our schedule only gets tougher each week so we must improve every week if we want to keep moving forward. I expect Hamilton to play their best game against us and I expect our guys to play the same way,” he added.

The team, which runs practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, is looking to improve its special teams unit and emphasize completing assignments with confidence. Zavarella added that the team will also work on timing and discipline.

“We have taken too many selfish penalties on all sides of the ball and need to rectify that immediately. We will continue to work on our fundamentals and work to eliminate all the mental mistakes we have been making in previous games,” he said.

The Ironmen have left an impressionable mark on Zavarella, who said that the team is always a tough and competitive squad to play against. “Their effort is always impressive and they are a complicated team to prepare for. In film, they look impressive and tough to defend,” he added.

Zavarella, however, is not intimated by their next opponents. He said the team will continue to watch their film in a bid to find the Ironmen’s exploitable flaws. He said the Ironmen will also be doing the same thing when they examine the Spears’ game film.

“It’s always a challenge to play against Hamilton and they will be coming into Niagara looking for a win. If we’re not prepared mentally and physically, or develop a strong game plan, we will be in for a long night,” he said.

The Hamilton-Niagara rivalry is alive and well and goes back to when the first Niagara team entered the OVFL in the mid-2000s. “It’s always a fun, competitive and entertaining game to be a part of,” Zavarella said. “It will for sure be and will always be a great matchup between the two clubs.”

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