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Grenadiers face crucial contest to close regular season Saturday

July 19, 2013

To say the varsity Kingston Grenadiers could use a win on Saturday would be an understatement almost as large as the number of standings permutations that remain possible going into the final weekend of the Ontario Varsity Football League season.

The Grenadiers could finish as high as second and earn a bye in the first round of playoffs or as low as fifth — and have to travel for a wildcard playoff game —depending on the outcome of a handful of games Saturday.

It’s a position the Grenadiers might not have predicted two weeks ago, when they had three shutouts and had allowed just one touchdown and nine points in fashioning a 5-0 record. Since then, however, have come back-to-back defeats that have shunted them back into a quagmire in the middle of the Wettges division standings.

This Saturday, the Grenadiers will host the Cornwall Wildcats, who are 6-1 and for the time being sit alone in second place. A win would put Kingston in a tie with Cornwall at 6-2, but the Grens would be favoured for having won the regular-season meeting.

Also lurking at 5-2, however, is Markham. The Raiders play the winless Cumberland Panthers and they could join the party at 6-2, a potential three-way tie whose resolution is complicated by the fact that Markham played neither Kingston nor Cornwall in the regular year.

The Metro Wildcats, 4-2-1, go into the weekend in fifth place. The first team to defeat Kingston this year, the Metro has the Toronto Thunder (2-5-1) for the final date of the schedule. A Metro win and a Kingston loss would vault the Wildcats past the Grenadiers.

Sitting sixth, and unlikely to move up, are the Oshawa Hawkeyes. Oshawa, 4-3, goes out of the division to play Niagara (6-1). Even a Kingston loss and an Oshawa win does the Hawkeyes no good, however, as the Grenadiers won the regular-season contest.

Though Kingston and Cornwall haven’t met this year, they have had five common opponents. They both beat Oshawa (Kingston 28-0, Cornwall 51-14), they both lost to Ottawa (Cornwall 57-0 on opening day, Kingston 76-28 last week), and they both beat Tom Denison’s Pickering Dolphins (Kingston 14-2, Cornwall 51-20), Cumberland (Cornwall 35-14, Kingston 9-7) and Newmarket (Kingston 27-0, Cornwall 49-22).

Cornwall, which has won six in a row, boasts a couple of the league’s premier defensive players. Linebacker Quaid Johnson is tied for second in the entire league with six interceptions, and defensive lineman Owen Stevens is tied for the league lead with six sacks.

Cornwall quarterback Jeremy Pike is second in the league with 16 touchdown passes.

The varsity game will start at 3:30 Saturday, completing a doubleheader at Loyalist Collegiate that will begin with the bantam Grenadiers, 1-6, hosting the Brampton Bulldogs, 2-5, at 1 o’clock.

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