RECAP (ONT – GBSSA): Phoenix conclude regular season victorious over T’Wolves

In a game that was originally slated for this past Wednesday, the Barrie Central Phoenix hosted the Nottawasaga Pines Timberwolves in what was possibly their final home game in school history on Friday afternoon in an early noon-time affair at Red Storey Field.

Expected inclement whether forced the postponement and gave both teams a couple extra days to prepare for the most important game of the season.

The Phoenix entered with a record of 2-3 following a 21-15 home loss at the hands of the Collingwood Fighting Owls in week five, and the T’Wolves came in with a reverse record of 3-2 after a 21-7 loss to the Eastview Wildcats–their second straight defeat after starting the season 3-0.

The equation was a very simple one: the team that won earned the right to host a playoff rematch on November 5; the team that lost would be forced to travel. These two teams are the only two teams in the ‘AA’ division of the SCAA, meaning the team that wins next week takes home the championship title and earns a birth in the GBSSA ‘AA’ final against a catholic opponent.

Both teams were thin on numbers, with the Timberwolves dressing only 18 players and the Phoenix dressing just 22. Central was also missing its starting pivot, Matthew Pigott, who was away South of the border.


Both teams came out slowly on offence, as the defences had the edge in the early going. Multiple punts from both teams in the first quarter limited the flow to the game, and led to a scoreless opening quarter.

About midway through the second quarter of play, the Phoenix would hit paydirt. They drove the ball down the field with Curtis King under centre after he replaced Jordan Travis, who got the start in place of Pigott, and was only marginally effective.

On a second down play, King dropped back to pass, was unable to find an open receiver, rolled to his right and, still without an open receiver, scampered his way into the end zone to put the Phoenix up 7-0 after Travis came on to nail the point after.

The defences still held the upper hand through the remainder of the first half. and Central held on to their seven point lead after 24 minutes of play.


The second half began very similarly to the first, as the defences came out of the break strong and held the opponent to very minimal success on offence. King threw an interception in the quarter and the Timberwolves also turned the ball over once on offence, but neither team could capitalize on the opposition’s mistakes. and the Phoenix preserved its one-touchdown advantage heading into the final 12 minutes.

There was a lot of the same in the fourth, with a bit of a twist. With about five minutes remaining in the fourth, Central scored easily the most bizarre touchdown I have ever seen, and probably the most unorthodox score seen in years at any level of the game.

The Phoenix had control of the ball, and Travis, who went back under centre on select plays, dropped back to pass on a second-down-and-long situation. He threw up a wobbler that was intercepted by the a T’Wolves linebacker and brought back the other way. It was safe to say that many nerves entered the systems of many Central supporters. But, that’s where the twist enters the fray.


As the benches were watching intently and the Central defence was vigorously chasing the ball-carrier, all of a sudden the play was heading back the other way. The ball had been lateraled to the left and right into the hands of none other than Jordan Travis. Travis had an open-field down the far sideline and hustled all the way down the field for about a 70-yard “pick six”, if you want to call it that.

That drastic swing in momentum from one side to the other and back again put the Phoenix up by a score of 13-0, after Travis, exhausted, failed to convert his second PAT of the day.

Nottawasaga Pines got the ball back with about 4:15 remaining, but were unable to move down the field and were forced to punt. They would get it back again with about 2:00 to go, still down 13, and drove it down the field for really the first time all day. They would get down to about the three-yard-line with eleven seconds remaining, and would score with eight seconds to go on a run up the middle by running back Donny Patton.

Although that broke the bid for a Phoenix shutout in their final regular season home game, they were still up 7 after a missed two-point conversion.


The Timberwolves only hope was to recover an onside kick and hope for a miracle. However, Central’s hands team was able to dive on the ball, run out the clock on a couple of kneel downs, and secure a well-earned, hard-fought 13-6 victory. That also meant that they had acquired the right to host the playoff rematch between the two teams on November 5.

The legacy of Barrie Central’s Red Storey field would live on another week.

Travis talked about getting the start at quarterback and scoring his first ever touchdown in either high school or rep football.

“I felt like I was able to lead the team and take control [at quarterback],” he mentioned. “It’s a very demanding position so you have to be at your best at all times. In the beginning I was a little nervous but that quickly went away and i just wanted to play my best to win the game.”


As for the touchdown, he is still confused about what happened, even two days after the fact.

“Nobody was open so I had to hold onto the ball for another second or two and I saw someone open so I made the throw,” he said. “It was a bad throw that was picked off. Then I was backing up because all I could think was I have to make this tackle because nobody is behind me to make it if I miss,” he continued. “Then as I went in to make it the ball was suddenly in my arms. I didn’t hesitate to run it back and score the touchdown, but I was confused while I was running and even now I’m still confused.”

King also talked about replacing Pigott and getting his team on the board.

“[There was] no pressure at all,” he said. “The coaches told me before hand that I might go in and I’m just glad they could put that much trust into me to fill the big shoes of [Matt] Piggott.”

As for the first Central TD of the day, it came off somewhat of a broken play.

“The play was designed for me to roll out and look for one of my receivers cutting out,” said King. “I went to throw it but I saw the corners on them like glue so I decided to take it myself and I’m glad we got the TD out of it.”


It means a lot to this team to close out its regular season with a win, especially at home.

“It’s incredible,” commented offensive lineman Austin Robison. “Not only to have won the last ever regular season game on our home field, but its also the 100th anniversary. It wasn’t our best game, nor was it our easiest but we came out on top.”

A large reason the Phoenix were able to come out on top was the play of their defence.

“I think our defence was absolutely amazing,” commented cornerback Symon Superville.  “We had some outstanding tackles and blocks and everyone pushed themselves as far as they could and beyond, which helped us earn a hard-fought and well-deserved win.”


Now the focus shifts to the rematch on Thursday, and the Phoenix will have their starting quarterback Matthew Pigott back under centre.

“I can’t even begin to describe how important it is to have our quarterback back on the field this week,” said Robison. “We managed in our last game with some inexperienced players filling in, but with ‘Piggy,’ our passing game will be much stronger, making us that much more lethal of a team.”

Both teams have a lot to work on in time for Thursday, and Central is focussing on a very important week of practice as a team to prepare for the grudge-match

“We have to stop focusing on our offence and defence as wholes; we need to practice each piece as much as another. We also need to be able to depend on one another,” Robison mentioned. “Many players on our team know what it’s like taking a hit out of nowhere, but if we have each others backs, it’ll make all the difference.”


Superville says the team is nervous and should be leading up to the biggest game of their season.

“I think going into this game on Thursday the team is probably nervous and rightfully so,” he alluded. “This is a very important game, plus we’re facing a team that we just beat meaning that they will probably be more aggressive towards us considering the circumstances of this game.”

The story of the final football team in Phoenix history has garnered much attention in the local press over the last couple weeks, something that Superville says the team is relishing.

“I think its great to have all this press coverage on our games especially considering Central’s closure,” he stated  “So it’s great that the community is able to keep up with what’s the things going on at our school and with our team.”


The Phoenix added four players prior to their week five matchup with Collingwood, and one of those is Offensive Lineman Mohamad Labban.

“All the players were very welcoming,” he said. “Even after having missed so much this past year, they didn’t treat me any differently or give me a hard time but instead just treated me like they treat any other player–like family.”

He did play last year for the Phoenix and, although he joined late in the year, says the experience he gained last season has helped him a rather smooth transition back into the fold.

“I feel like playing football is just like riding a bike,” he said. “Once you get used to it, it becomes really easy to remember. So although I missed many practices and games, I’ve been able to regain knowledge of what I was doing before I knew it.”


He also provided his own input into what his team needs to do in order to sweep this two-game mini series against the T’Wolves and move forward in the playoffs.

“I’m going to tell you the same thing probably every other player on the team has said–work hard,” he said. “There’s no way we can win if we don’t dedicate ourselves to the team and to the game. It won’t be easy to win since Nottawasaga is a tough opponent,” he continued. “But if we pour our hearts out into the game, then I’m sure we can come out victorious.”


The Phoenix will have a chance to do just that as the two teams re-acquaint on Thursday November 5, again on Red Storey Field at Central. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m.




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