Both A division teams prevailed in qualification playoff games Thursday—but they didn’t find it easy.
The Sydenham Golden Eagles edged the Kingston Blues 24-20 and the Bayridge Blazers shaded the Loyalist Lancers 25-23 in games that determined the final four seedings for Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior girls basketball quarter-finals, which will be played Tuesday.
At stake was an opportunity not to face the undefeated Regiopolis Notre Dame or the Holy Cross Crusaders, second-place team in the senior A regular schedule, in the first round.
As a result of Thursday’s results, the Lancers, first-place team in senior B division, are seeded seventh and they will face Holy Cross, 8-2, in one quarter-final. KC, the second-place team in B division, has the dubious honour of challenging Regi, 10-0, in another.
In the other two quarter-finals, Bayridge, 1-9, will visit the La Salle Black Knights, 5-5, and Sydenham, 2-8, will play the 4-6 Falcons at Frontenac.
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Mike Doyle paused for a moment as he pondered the question.
“They really matured through that,” the Frontenac Falcons football coach said, as he considered what his players may have gained from starting the season 1-3.
That was certainly evident Thursday, as the Falcons handily defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 38-16 in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior AAA semifinal game.
The victory, Frontenac’s third in a row since that inauspicious start, sends the defending champion Falcons into the county triple-A championship game Nov. 8 at Richardson Stadium against the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers. Regi defeated the Ernestown Eagles 24-20 in Thursday’s other semifinal game.
Part of that maturity, Doyle said, is better communication among his players on the field than they were exhibiting at the beginning of the year.
“The big thing is the first couple of games we’d make one mistake, and then another mistake and another mistake,” he said, “whereas any mistakes we made today we were able to demonstrate some more resilience and come back and make a good play on the next play.
“Not compounding our errors was a big thing today.”
It was an observation also made by Holy Cross coach Tim Pendergast, whose team trailed 24-2 at halftime.
“We started the third quarter and had a few first downs,” he said, “but every time we seemed to get any kind of momentum they had a play that took it away. Frontenac played really well. Their kids stepped up. Their defence played strong, hard-nosed football and they were by far the better team today.”
Alas, the Crusaders, 4-2 and a 27-25 winner over Frontenac in the regular year, knew all about mistakes Thursday. Three interceptions, a couple of fumbles, two missed field goals, and a punt returned for a touchdown were all manifestations of a day when anything that could go wrong for Holy Cross seemed to do just that.
Two interceptions by Frontenac’s Chris Sparks led to a touchdown and a field goal.
“Turnovers killed us,” Pendergast said. “In our three losses, turnovers were our Achilles heel.
“We did not play well. We slipped, we fell, we fumbled—but give credit to them. They came to play.”
The Falcons opened scoring in the middle of the first quarter, as quarterback Rob Magee hit Carter Matheson.
“It’s not like we weren’t expecting it,” Pendergast said. “Rob Magee’s arm out-threw our coverage and Carter came down with it and ran another 40 yards.”
Before the first half was done, Magee threw another touchdown pass to Brendan Steele and Connor O’Neil returned a punt about 70 yards for another Frontenac TD. A field goal by Braeden North sent the Falcons into halftime with a 22-point lead.
Alec Ferlan returned an intercepted pass early in the second half and Magee and Matheson connected for Frontenac’s final major. North converted all five.
It was 30-2 before Holy Cross scored a touchdown.
Doyle said his team controlled its errors.
“Kids being calmer during the game and relaxing and trusting themselves was a big thing today,” he said. “Our concentration was the best we’ve seen all year … and we had a great day from our special teams today, (not just) the punt return for a touchdown but a couple of other punt returns that were critical.”
Pendergast said Frontenac did nothing differently or better than it did when the teams met three weeks ago.
“It’s always difficult to beat a good football team twice,” he said. “We lost at the wrong time and we lost in the wrong order.”
As the only association in EOSSA with triple-A schools (based on enrolment) the KASSAA champion will get direct entry to a provincial bowl game Nov. 26 in McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium. That team will face the winner of the Toronto District association in a game scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
People may have been surprised at the performance of the Ernestown Eagles Thursday afternoon.
Ryan Poser wasn’t one of them.
“We had a pretty close game against Ernestown at the beginning of the year,” the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers coach said after his team defeated the Eagles 24-20 in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior AAA football semifinal.
“They have a quality player in (Konner Burtenshaw) that we were pretty certain was going to give us a hard time.”
Indeed, in the game at Regi’s Brother O’Gara Field, Burtenshaw did give the Panthers a hard time.
In a game where Ernestown scored first and the lead changed hands four times after that, Burtenshaw carried the ball 18 times for 166 yards—181 until he lost 15 yards desperately trying to find an opening on the final play of the game.
He scored a touchdown; he gained first down on a direct snap on a fake punt, keeping alive a drive that led to the game’s first score, and he returned a punt 30 yards to start a drive that ended with a field goal that gave Ernestown a 20-17 lead with six minutes left in the game.
Burtenshaw gained six of his team’s nine first downs and did so on an afternoon when the Eagles presented not a lot of surprises, since they didn’t attempt a single pass.
More impressive than Burtenshaw’s performance, however, was the resiliency the Panthers showed all day, but especially in response to that go-ahead field goal. It took Regi just four plays to cover the 55 yards required to score a Jordan Pringle touchdown that produced the eventual winning points.
Pringle caught two Quinton Auty passes in the drive, one of 35 yards and the other of 13 yards for the score.
Ernestown had the ball twice after that; one drive ended with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage by Bryant Bishop on third-and-five; the other, which started from Ernestown’s 27-yard line with 59 seconds to play, got as far as the Eagles’ 50 before Burtenshaw was forced back and chased out of bounds on another third-down attempt.
It was not the first time the Regi defence came up big. Three times in the ball game the Panthers fumbled a punt, but all the Eagles could generate from the three turnovers was a solitary field goal.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot by losing field position,” Poser said. “Because Jordan Pringle is such a good punter, if we are stopped, it’s not the end of the world. We can punt the ball away and switch positions on the field and keep going but in those situations we were giving Ernestown the ball in a fairly dangerous position. Defensively, we stood strong.”
Because Regi fumbled Ernestown’s first two punts, by the time Jake Dawson made his 36-yard kick at 9:18 of the first quarter, the Panthers had run just two offensive plays. The Panthers didn’t make first down until about five minutes into the second quarter and they didn’t score until the game’s 20th minute, when Matteo Coimbra rushed for a five-yard TD.
Ernestown then exhausted most of what was left in the first half on a drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run by Aidan Erkan. The Eagles, 2-4 in the regular year and the fourth seed entering the AAA playoffs, led 10-7 at the intermission.
A 35-yard pass from Auty to Pringle was the big play of Regi’s opening drive of the second half and Coimbra’s second five-yard TD run gave the home team a 14-10 lead. A 28-yard field goal by Nick Carriere gave Regi a 17-10 lead late in the period but on the very next play, Burtenshaw went 75 yards, jumping over would-be tacklers, dodging others and shedding those who got a hand on him on his way down the right sideline for a touchdown that tied the game.
Regi was then two-and-out and Ernestown, with Spencer Giffin doing the heaving lifting and an unnecessary roughness penalty on impromptu fake punt prolonging the drive, got as far as the Panthers’ 12-yard line before settling for Dawson’s second field goal of the game.
Regi answered quickly, getting two long completions on second down of the game-winning drive.
“We’ve been a pretty quick-strike offence all year,” Poser said. “We’ve done well with the long ball, and Jordan Pringle plays exceptionally well. He can track down a ball in the air and he can out-jump anybody. Getting a couple of long passes to him is kind of par for the course. It’s how our offence is set up.
“Our quarterback is growing in confidence every day and we’ve got a veteran offensive line that gives him a lot of time. When he stays in the pocket and just throws the ball he’s a pretty dangerous kid.”
Though the Panthers, the top-seeded AAA team whose 4-2 record included a season-opening 9-7 win over the Eagles, could never put the visitors away, Poser said he had faith his players would always “come back and compete.”
“We were shooting ourselves in the foot early in the game by fumbling the ball but we regrouped in the second half and didn’t make the same mistakes.
“We had good composure. We didn’t panic in the end. There wasn’t any finger pointing in any way, and the maturity of the team allowed it to stay together. We could have easily pointed the finger at fumbles on special teams, or missed tackles defensively, or some incomplete balls but the team rallies together. It’s kind of next man up.”
Nikolas Daniele-Reyes compensated for a couple of fumbled punts with some terrific rushes. He finished the day with 11 carries for 96 yards. Auty completed six of 10 passes for 140 yards; four of them, covering 89 yards, to Pringle.
The Panthers will meet the defending champion Frontenac Falcons for the county senior championship Nov. 8 at Richardson Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 38-16 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
As the only association in EOSSA with triple-A schools, KASSAA will send its champion directly to a provincial bowl game, against the Toronto District champion, Nov. 26 at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium.
One of a series of stories of conversations with ex-cadets from Royal Military College, as they reflect on their time at the college, their sporting endeavours and what they’ve been up to since graduation.
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
It seemed a pretty innocuous request at the time.
Bob Mason, Royal Military College graduate, was trade commissioner, the 2IC at the Canadian embassy in Kuwait that summer. “I was supposed to be in charge of the embassy in August,” he recalled. His vacation time was scheduled for July, but his daughter and son, who themselves were attending RMC at the time, wouldn’t be able to see him then, so he asked his boss if he could delay his vacation by a month and come to Canada in August instead.
“Do you mind if you and I are both away at the same time?” he recalls asking the ambassador, whose August vacation was already booked. “He said it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s very quiet there in the summer.”
It was 1990.
“Little did we know that Saddam Hussein was going to visit.”
Before he knew it, Mason, the former two-sport varsity star, was summoned to Ottawa to work on a task force and then he was on his way to Bahrain, to establish a temporary embassy where the Armed Forces would be putting their headquarters for Canada’s role in the Gulf War.
“It was interesting being the trade commissioner and doing all this war-related stuff when all my friends from RMC were leading the Canadian troops,” he said.
When the war ended, it was diplomatically imperative to re-establish the embassy in Kuwait as quickly as possible. “The war ended in the morning,” Mason said. “We flew in with a military jet in the afternoon.
“(The ambassador) said, ‘Bring a suitcase, you’re not coming back until it’s safe. When it’s safe, let me know and I’ll come back in.’ I was there for three weeks trying to get the embassy going again.
“That was the most interesting job I’ve ever done, because there were military people everywhere and I’d had the military experience. It was quite a fascinating part of my life.”
That says a lot, because Mason has had an extraordinary life, in a career that has taken him to Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Japan, Indonesia and the Middle East. It’s a long way from Bronte, Ont., a small town near Oakville that was surrounded by farmers’ fields when Mason left in 1963 to study at College Militaire Royal.
He was three years in St-Jean, Que., before he came to RMC to complete his studies in chemical engineering.
“I was a jock,” Mason says, without hesitation and not just a little bit of pride. At CMR he played basketball, was goalkeeper on the soccer team and did the horizontal jumps on the track team. He played football and basketball at RMC, was a league all-star in both, and was drafted to play football for the Toronto Argonauts after his senior year. “I never went to camp because I had surgery on my knee,” he recalled. “I don’t know exactly when it (happened) but I graduated from the college and went right to the hospital.”
An end on the football team, Mason set a school record for catching passes in his third year. “I can’t remember what it is because it was so long ago,” he said. “We had a good team in my third year but we were not as good in my fourth year.”
Hank Tatarchuk, now a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, was coach of the basketball team at the time. At 6-foot-3, Mason, the Redmen’s centre—“today that would be guard size”—was a second-team all-star his first year and a first-team all-star his second year, when he was the second-leading scorer in the league.
“We had a good basketball team,” Mason said. “We were second in the league two years in a row (to Carleton). Carleton was a really good team.”
Mason recalled the night he set a record by scoring 50 points in a game against Macdonald College. “It didn’t last very long,” he said. “Dave Gorman at Carleton, a few days later, when he saw my record, he went out and got 60-something.”
Mason’s athletic endeavours took him down almost as many paths as his diplomatic career. As a basketball player, he later played on the city team in Ottawa, on a senior B team in Montreal and a club team in Japan, which, for two years in a row, he helped propel to the national championship there. He played squash—his father, James Mason, was a national-team coach and is enshrined in the Ontario Squash Hall of Fame—and he played rugby for the Hong Kong sevens, in international matches against Canada and Australia.
At the age of 19, Mason’s brother, Martin, was the Ontario Amateur golf champion in 1966, the last year the title was contested in match-play format. “He was my younger brother and by the time he was 14 he was beating me,” Mason said. “My claim to fame is I was his caddy.”
Did he give him any good advice?
“All the time.”
Mason continues to be an avid golfer. He divides his time between Ottawa and Melbourne, Australia, in his wife’s homeland. He’s a member of clubs in both places and in Australia, his home course, the Kew Golf Club, is the same one where his grandfather was club champion in 1901 and 1904. “You don’t understand golf until you go to Australia,” he said. “They’re very competitive.”
But he never played football again.
“Yes and no,” he said, asked if he regretted not being able to take advantage of the opportunity to play professionally. “I managed to get first-class honours when I graduated and I had scholarship opportunities to three places: Columbia, Virginia and the University of Toronto. A good friend of mine also had a scholarship to the University of Virginia so we went down to Virginia together.
“If I had not had surgery, I had the option to go to the University of Toronto and I would have tried out at that time, but I was still in the military so it was hard to do things (outside of that). I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it from a how-would-I-have-done perspective. It was the Bobby Taylor era and the Argos were not bad at that time, but I don’t regret not going because I went down to Virginia and I found out two things: I didn’t like engineering, after six years of it, and I met my wife.”
The future Janette Mason was from Australia, and she was completing an exchange nursing program in Charlottesville. “She had been away for two years, and was just going home,” Mason said. “We met and she never got home. We’ve been married 47 years now.”
When he came back to Canada, Mason fulfilled his commitment to the Armed Forces in Ottawa. “I was not very pleased with what I was doing,” he said, so he decided to leave the service and pursued his MBA at McMaster, where he came first in his class.
That led him to the federal Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce, part of a group that was helping Canadian companies export defence equipment. At that time, Canada and the U.S. had a defence-production sharing agreement, whereby defence contractors in the U.S. had to employ a certain amount of Canadian content. Mason’s job was to help Canadian firms gain access to that segment of the market.
That group became part of the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Service, which eventually morphed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In his work there, he spent almost 22 years outside the country, about half of it in Japan.
“I enjoyed Japan,” he said, “even though I’m tall.
“I joke that I went to Japan at 6-3 and came back 6-2, because I kept hitting my head on the doors all the time.”
Part of language study there was finding ways beyond the classroom for students to apply what they’d learned. That led instructors to discover Mason’s interest in basketball and that led him to helping to coach a university women’s team, and playing with the team at the local YMCA. Being part of a club in Japan, he explained, “is a lifetime commitment.”
“I’m still with those guys today, 40 years later. One person who joined the club at the same time I did, every time we go to Japan, I stay at his house.”
Mason said he has fond memories of the college.
“I miss RMC a lot. The main thing was the sports, going out, travelling, on a Friday getting on the bus, playing on a Friday night or a Saturday. When I was a prep, I liked it because I missed a lot of parades. Marching was not my forte.”
He said the structure of the college gave him athletic opportunities he may not have enjoyed at a civilian university, but there was one part of the regimen of which he was not enamored.
“Your classes were between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; 4 p.m. to 7 o’clock was practice time. Then you came back and you had your meal,” he said. “I remember we had a special room we used to go and eat, but whenever they had spaghetti, I hated it. They made it for 4 o’clock and by the time you got there at quarter to 7 it had been sitting in the water for two and a half hours. It was not the nicest spaghetti.
“I never ate spaghetti for years afterwards.”
Mason recalled his third year at the college, when football ended one Saturday and he played his first basketball the following weekend. A week and a half after that he began a stretch of 12 exams in 13 days.
“I found that the most difficult period, those Christmas exams,” he said. “After basketball season would end in March, you had a month and a half before the exams, so you finally had a chance to study and find out what you were really doing, rather than cramming the night before.
“All I know, at the military college, there’s a lot of cramming. Everybody was the same, because we were so busy.”
Mason retired in 1990, after 37 years of public service. “When I retired I said, ‘I used my brain a lot and now I want to use my hands.’” To that end, he and his son began renovating homes in Ottawa, and he later undertook to do one in Australia.
With a father who was half Spanish and a wife who’s Australian, Mason said it wasn’t difficult to adjust to living abroad, but the irony of having moved 26 times is not lost on a man who chose the foreign service after leaving the nomadic life of the Armed Forces shortly after graduating from RMC in 1966.
“It was hard because you had to adjust each time but it was also exciting,” he said. Mason lamented that his children didn’t have the opportunity to establish childhood friendships. “They don’t have the continuity with friends that you have forever.
“It’s the same with our lifestyle. Our friends are within the service and from RMC, rather than friends you’ve made because you lived next door to the person for 25 years or you’ve known somebody at work for 40 years. We know people from work, but one guy goes to London and another guy goes to Paris, so you see them for two years in one place, but you don’t see them again for 30 years. It’s a different type of lifestyle.
“For most people in the military that is a lifestyle problem. You make sacrifices. Do you go for the promotion? Or do you go for staying in a place? That’s the one hard part of military life but most of the people who have gone through RMC have the aptitude to adjust and adapt.”
All of Mason’s children followed him to military college. Mason’s daughter, Elizabeth, graduated from RMC in 1991 in the same class as her husband, Darryl Nicholson. A varsity water polo player, she was an aeronautical engineer at Uplands in Ottawa but they now live in Portland, Ore.
A son, Peter, now a major, graduated from CMR in 1992. A finance officer, he was recently posted from Kingston to Ottawa. Rob, an all-star rugby player who graduated in 1998, is also a major, an army engineer stationed in Ottawa who is working on a Masters at RMC.
Notwithstanding the demands on a varsity athlete, Mason says the best education a person can receive is from a military college. “Look at the number of people from military colleges who have done well in life,” he said.
“People say, I don’t have enough time to do things, but you make time. You learn, you don’t spend all your time doing something over and over again. You have to do it once and do it right. The military college taught you leadership skills. You couldn’t graduate from the college without leadership skills, or if you weren’t physically fit. We had a cadet in third year, two and a half years at the college, and he was let go because he couldn’t pass the physical fitness exams.
“You have to be physically fit, you have to be academically fit, you had to be bilingual and you had to show leadership, how to handle yourself. I don’t find that in most universities.”
La Salle Black Knights did what no team has done this year: They got close to the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers.
Ultimately it didn’t much matter—the Panthers prevailed 42-39 over La Salle on the final day of the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior girls AAA basketball season—but La Salle’s achievement was remarkable for a couple of reasons.
Not only was that the most points scored against Regi in a game all year, it was also the closest anybody had come to the undefeated Panthers. Only one team had ended a game with Regi this year less than 20 points down—the Holy Cross Crusaders, who were beaten 48-37 when the teams first met Oct. 2.
Before Tuesday, Regi’s average margin of victory had been 24.8 points. In their previous meeting, the Panthers had dumped La Salle 43-14 on Oct. 7.
Bridget Mulholland scored 10 points to lead Regi, which jumped to a big first-quarter lead but almost frittered it away.
“(We) managed to hold on,” Panthers coach Lesley Stevenson wrote in an email, “but poor shot selection and lazy defence allowed the Knights to make a comeback.”
La Salle’s Lilie Dixon, with 14 points, and Jamie Mumby, with 13, were the top scorers in the game.
The Frontenac Falcons needed double overtime to dispose of the Sydenham Golden Eagles, 40-36, and Holy Cross finished the year 8-2 with a 43-25 win over the Blazers at Bayridge. Frontenac finished the year by winning four of its last six games, after an 0-4 start.
In a senior B game, the Loyalist Lancers defeated the Granite Ridge Gryphons 46-18 to finish tied atop the division standings at 9-1 with the Kingston Blues. Since the teams split the season series, a coin flip was required to break the tie and it was won by LC.
Thursday, Loyalist and KC will enter qualification play with the bottom two senior AAA teams, Sydenham, 2-8, and Bayridge, 1-9, at neutral sites. Loyalist will play Bayridge at Queen Elizabeth, while KC will face Sydenham at LC.
The outcomes of those teams will determine positions five through eight for quarter-final play that will begin Tuesday, Nov. 4.
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
It’s probably not surprising that the top two teams in the league during the regular year will meet for the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior AA football championship Saturday at Richardson Stadium.
In a game of two halves Tuesday, the La Salle Black Knights’ first-half performance proved to be too much for even the spirited comeback mounted by the Bayridge Blazers, who ultimately dropped a 31-20 decision in the AA semifinal match Tuesday afternoon at La Salle’s Berk Brean Field.
The Knights, 5-1 in the regular season, will meet the Sydenham Golden Eagles, 6-0, in Saturday’s final at 1:30 p.m. at Richardson Stadium. When the teams met in Sydenham in the Bubba Bowl on Oct. 9, the Eagles’ 28-21 victory proved to be the only blemish on La Salle’s record.
Playing on a cloudy but unseasonably warm day Tuesday, La Salle appeared poised to put a whipping on the Blazers who, beset by injuries, had just 21 players dressed for the contest. Knights quarterback Mitch Dowd completed his first five passes—and eight of his first nine attempts—as the Knights built a 24-0 lead at halftime.
La Salle was both methodical and opportune. After the Knights got a 39-yard field goal by Isaac Hetherington on their first possession, they executed a seven-play, 77-yard drive on their next series, capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by Elias Pickell.
With the La Salle defence playing superbly—in the Blazers’ first five possessions, they managed just one first down—the Knights started consecutive series inside the Bayridge 30-yard line late in the second quarter and they scored a touchdown each time, less than three minutes apart. The first came on a seven-yard run by Tim Wight, the second on a one-yard run by Pickell.
Lightning struck the Knights when Bayridge quarterback Jordan Fehr conncted with John Harper for an 85-yard TD pass on the second play of the second half, but the Knights answered two plays later when Dowd and Shawn Miller completed a 55-yard touchdown pass of their own.
With a 31-6 lead and the Blazers’ short bench, it looked like La Salle would complete an easy romp but Bayridge was having none of that. The Blazers blocked a 20-yard field goal attempt the next time La Salle had the ball and on the very next play, Fehr and Cole Casford combined for a 90-yard touchdown with two and a half minutes left in the third quarter.
Momentum had clearly shifted when Harper intercepted a pass on La Salle’s next play, but Bayridge couldn’t convert. Neither could La Salle, however, and, despite starting on their own 15-yard line, the Blazers moved down the field. The big play was a 42-yard run by tackle Adam Vanderlaan and Fehr capped the 95-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal.
Now Bayridge trailed by just 11 points and things were looking promising when Harper intercepted his second pass and returned it about 15 yards to the La Salle 21-yard line. The Blazers couldn’t capitalize, however, opting to try a hook-and-ladder pass on third-and-10 that came up three yards short of a first down.
Neither team could move the football in the final four minutes of the game.
“When our starters were in there I thought we controlled the game and did what we wanted to do,” said La Salle coach Reuben Brunet, whose team substituted freely on defence in the final period and a half. “I give credit to Bayridge. They didn’t quit and they made a couple of big plays on us.”
Brunet said that even in retrospect he wouldn’t have played it any differently in the second half.
“How do you get better? You’ve got to let your younger guys get out there and try to play,” he said. “When we got some of our younger guys on the field we broke down a little bit (but) it was good for them to get on the field and experience that. It’s good for them to learn that you have to continue to play against every team, because (the Blazers) were not quitting. They have Grade 12 or fifth-year kids there who are not going to play football again. You know they’re going to play full out, so you have to match that intensity. A couple of our Grade 11 guys didn’t take that to heart and made some mistakes.”
Dowd had a fine game for La Salle, finishing 11-for-16 for 183 yards, though he threw two interceptions. Miller caught four balls for 112 yards.
For the most part Bayridge contained La Salle’s tough running back, Wight, who carried eight times for 35 yards but gained two yards or less on half of his rushes.
“I didn’t give him the ball much,” Brunet said. “I didn’t want to break him, because Sydenham’s going to focus on him, too. He’s a stud.”
In scoring 20 points, Bayridge not only exceeded its single-game best this year, but finished with three more points than it had scored altogether in six regular-season games. In their previous meeting, the Blazers lost 22-0 to La Salle at home a week and a half ago.
“We’ve always had it in there,” coach Mike McCourt said. “It seems like we’ve had unforced errors and mental things that have killed drives.
“When we played La Salle last time, we were in the red zone five times and we couldn’t put it in, so we walked away from that game thinking that they were a beatable team. We were just beating ourselves. It was bad snaps, we couldn’t hand the ball off on runs; everything was disjointed.”
McCourt reminded his players of that at halftime and they responded, particularly the players on defence.
“Maybe they were playing looser in the second half,” McCourt said.
“When we played them last time we had a defensive player injured and we had another fellow away for the weekend. Two starters. We had those guys (back today) and we had a couple of offensive guys that we brought over who are just good athletes. We were going to get our best kids on the field and see what happens. I think we strengthened our defence that way. They exposed us a little bit on the outside, with those short passes, getting around the edge, but … the interior line play was stronger.”
The strong second half flew in the face of what you might expect of a team down 25 points early in the second half, playing on the other team’s field with a short bench.
“We knew from the beginning that we had good athletes,” said McCourt, who began the year with a roster of 32, “we just didn’t have a lot of them. We knew if we could get it together, these guys could perform.”
Fehr finished the game 10-for-23 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Knights had seven catches, six of them in the second half. The Blazers’ Achilles heel was their running game. They managed just 64 yards on the ground, 42 of them coming on the trick play with the lineman Vanderlaan.
Ottawa Gee-Gees got a goal from Julia Francki in the game’s 30th minute and the flawless play of goalkeeper Cynthia Leblanc made it stand up for a 1-0 home-field victory Sunday afternoon that eliminated the Queen’s Golden Gaels from the Ontario University Athletics women’s soccer playoffs.
For the No. 1-ranked Gee-Gees, who lost their season opener but have now won 16 games in a row, it was the second shutout win over Queen’s in two weeks. The Gaels dropped their regular-season match with Ottawa 3-0.
Francki, a midfielder who had 10 goals in the regular year, scored once in that game.
In two games this year the Gaels failed to beat Leblanc, who made eight saves in this one. Keeper Madison Tyrell made seven saves for Queen’s, which finished fourth in the East division at 9-4-3, but lost three of its last five games.
Ottawa will advance to the four-team championship tournament next weekend in Hamilton.
The last time Queen’s failed to win an OUA medal was in 2008, a season when Ottawa also pulled the trap door on the Gaels’ season with a 1-0 victory. This time, the Gee-Gees were gaining a measure of revenge for the Gaels having ousted them on penalty kicks a year ago.
Queen’s men, meanwhile, were also eliminated by a 1-0 defeat, at the hands of the Varsity Blues at Toronto. A goal by Nirun Sivananthan in the game’s 17th minute was the only score of the game.
The goalkeepers, Maxfield Materne of Queen’s and Rab Bruce-Lockhart, each made three saves in the game.