Spirit will look to returning core to help them compete in 2016

After a tough start to the season, the St. Marcellinus Spirit rest their laurels on their resiliency and their talented core of players.

The St. Marcellinus Spirit came into the 2015 season with high expectations for their team, as they fell one play short of being crowned ROPSSAA champions in their previous season. Fielding a roster mostly comprised of Grade 11 student athletes in 2015, the Spirit had their fair share of challenges as they competed in the ROPSSAA South.

In a season that had several ups and downs, the Spirit finished the regular season with a modest 3-2 record, while also earning the third seed in the ROPSSAA South. The Spirit would be forced to play road games for the rest of the season in order to get back to the championship game and redeem themselves. In the first round of the playoffs, the Spirit travelled to St Marguerite d’Youville to take on the hard-nosed Panthers.

After defeating d’Youville by a touchdown, St Marcellinus prepared for another tough challenge the following week against their rival, the Lorne Park Spartans. Over the years, the Spirit and Spartans had shared some fierce battles with one another, including last year’s championship ROPSSAA final that concluded in heartbreaking fashion. As well, the two teams faced off earlier in 2015, which saw Lorne Park defeat the Spirit by 28 points.

Despite the recent advantage Lorne Park had gained in their battles, the Spirit entered their second game of the season a different team. “In the first week, I think we went in there with one game plan and it didn’t work out for us,” said Head Coach for the Spirit Vinnie Saliba. As Saliba reflects on the last game of the season for St. Marcellinus, the Spirit’s coach believed the opportunities that were not capitalized on hurt his team in the end. “At the end of the day, when you have your chances you have to make sure that you take them, or else the result won’t go your way.”



Despite the team failing to get back to the ROPSSAA Finals this season, Saliba notes how proud he is of this team due to their fight and their ability to bounce back in critical situations. “Our resilience really impressed me this season. We kind of had a slow start to the season this year. However, our players stuck together and stayed with the game plan, then week in and week out we just kept getting better and better.”

For the student-athletes coming back to Marcellinus football next season, Saliba wants those individuals to become leaders of this football team. With a young team on hand and 2015 over for the Spirit, Coach Saliba and the St. Marcellinus football program will look forward to 2016 now with much off-season training to do.

Marcellinus football will aim to keep expectations high, as the program believes that this core of players is primed to pose one of the tougher matchups in ROPSSAA. “I think we run a very strong program here, from the junior program all the way up to the senior level,” says Coach Saliba. “We just want them to reach their fullest potential on the football field. That’s pretty much where we’re at, so we’ll work hard in the off-season and we’ll have a go at it next year.


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