Sonics complete their dream season with thrilling victory (NB 10-man)

High School: Sussex, Moncton earn provincial football championships

MONCTON – Three plays defined a season and kept the Sussex Sonics perfect.

The Sonics, led by a determined defensive stand late in the fourth quarter, edged the St. Stephen Spartans 16-13 in the New Brunswick High School Football League’s 10-man division final before about 1,500 spectators Saturday afternoon at Rocky Stone Memorial Field in Moncton.

Sussex finished the season with nine consecutive victories, but none were as emotional or tense as the championship win.

Sonics led 16-6 at halftime, but the Spartans running back Kurtis Delaney broke free for a 99-yard touchdown just 1:25 into the fourth quarter to set up the thrilling finish.

Spartans, with Delaney, Gage Ross and Scott Bell consistently picking up yardage out of the backfield, controlled the ball for much of the fourth quarter. With just 2:39 left in regulation time, the Spartans had first down and goal on the Sonics two-yard line.

However, the Sonics defensive unit was resilient and the Spartans could not move the ball any further. In fact, the Spartans actually lost a yard on three attempts to muscle the ball into the end zone.

Sonics linebacker Corey McMillan, who was in the middle of all the game-saving tackles, said the players knew what had to be done.

“We realized that we had better suck it up if we wanted to win this game,” said McMillan, a Grade 12 student.

“We did the same thing every time,” McMillan said. “We just tried to block up the middle and not let the ball carrier get through. We knew they were going to try and run up the middle so we just stacked as many players in there as we could.”

Mark Folkins, on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Tabor, and Robert Dunfield, on an explosive 78-yard run, had touchdowns for the Sonics. Folkins caught a two-point convert and Tabor chipped in with a kicked convert and a single on a missed 33-yard field goal attempt.

Ross, on a three-yard plunge, had the Spartans other major. Neither of St. Stephen’s touchdowns were converted.

Liam Anderson recorded an interception and fumble recovery for the Sonics while David Parker had an interception for the Spartans.

“I’m proud of everyone on the team and I’m going to miss them next year,” McMillan said. “We worked together as a team and we have great coaching that brought out the best in all of the players.

“It hasn’t been easy, but now we’ve got the trophy and a banner. We know what it feels like to be champions.”

Meanwhile, Moncton High Purple Knights running back Marc McDougall has been waiting for this moment since he first strapped on his helmet as a peewee player nearly 10 years ago.

McDougall, with the power of a plowhorse and the speed of a thoroughbred, scored two touchdowns and led the Purple Knights to a 43-21 win over the Harrison Trimble Trojans in the 12-man championship game played before more than 5,000 spectators Saturday at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

The Grade 12 student racked up 211 yards of rushing on 21 carries and was named the offensive player of the game.

Still trying to catch his breath after celebrating with teammates and the Ed Skiffington Trophy, named in honour of Moncton High’s first coach, McDougall said he had trouble believing his childhood dream had come true.

“Words can’t describe what I am feeling,” the 18-year-old said. “It’s hard to explain, but this means everything to me. I think of all the hard work our team put in to win this championship and it makes me proud.

Moncton High and Trimble have each won 14 New Brunswick championships, more than any other team. Saturday’s matchup marked the first time the cross-town rivals had met for the provincial title in 26 years.

Purple Knights stormed out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by McDougall and Luke Dickinson before Jeff McCarty put the Trojans on the scoreboard with a spectacular 80-yard kickoff return for a major.

However, the Moncton High’s response was emphatic.

In the closing moments of the second quarter half, the Knights scored 21 points in only 52 seconds to give Moncton High a commanding 35-7 lead at halftime.

McDougall scored his second touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run with just 1:09 left in the first half.

Thirty-five seconds later, Moncton High’s Matt Toogood returned a punt 65 yards for a major. Less than 30 seconds later, after the Knights recovered an on-side kick, Same Zeid caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Rogers to put the game out of reach.

Matt Toogood, on a 21-yard reception, had Moncton High’s lone touchdown of the second half. Lucas Constantine kicked all six converts and Zeid punted a 33-yard single.

Matt Seely, on a 33-yard pass from John Toogood, and Toogood, on a two-yard quarterback keep, had the other touchdowns for the Trojans. Will Rochlow had three converts.

Rogers completed 10 of 16 pass attempts for 206 yards with just one interception while John Toogood was 16-for-27 for 305 yards, but he was intercepted five times.

Source: By Dwayne Tingley
Published In the Telegraph-Journal on Monday November 16, 2009

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