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Grenadiers advance with playoff win over Oshawa

July 28, 2013


Even on the victors’ sideline, the atmosphere was subdued Saturday afternoon.

“We still made too many mistakes,” Kingston Grenadiers varsity coach Bob Mullen said, after his team posted a 42-7 win over the Oshawa Hawkeyes in a first-round Ontario Varsity Football League playoff game Saturday afternoon at Loyalist Collegiate.

“It’s hard to say this at 42-7,” Mullen said, “but there’s lots to work on.”

Displaying a vanilla offence and an occasionally undisciplined defence, the Grenadiers were fortunate to escape the first half with a 14-7 lead. The offence took advantage of two short fields to score touchdowns on drives of 14 and 31 yards, but failed on consecutive possessions in the second quarter that started at the Oshawa 38-, 34- and 36-yard lines.

The Grenadiers’ defence took some particularly egregious penalties among the 16 they would take in the game, among them two that kept alive Oshawa’s only scoring drive that tied the game 7-7 late in the first quarter.

Kingston scored on its first possession of the second half and then capped the game with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

“We played one half of football,” Mullen said. “We’ve got to have a little more discipline, come out of the gate ready to play instead of taking 30 minutes to figure out whether you want to.

“As I said to the kids at the half, they’re not really afraid of us because they don’t have to beat us 10 times in a row, they only have to beat us once and all of a sudden it’s a tie game.

“Once we settled down we had their offence pretty much in check. Offensively, we started running the ball better between the tackles.”

The victory earns the Grenadiers a second-round date next weekend with the Markham Raiders. Kingston and Markham both finished the regular year at 6-2, but tie-breaker favoured Markham, which was awarded second place and a first-round bye while Kingston was placed third. The teams did not meet in the regular year.

The Grenadiers scored first Saturday. With Oshawa scrimmaging deep in its own end, a tackle for loss, a broken-up pass, a sack and a shanked punt out of the end zone gave the home team the ball on the Hawkeyes’ 14-yard line about seven minutes into the game. Two plays later Konner Burtenshaw was in the end zone for Kingston’s first touchdown.

Oshawa drove 70 yards from the subsequent kickoff, with Edwin Rivera, Jr., carrying over from the two to tie the game.

The score stayed that way through a dreary second quarter. Kingston, after fumbling on its previous possession near the Hawkeyes’ 25-yard line, got the ball back on the Oshawa 31 with 37.8 seconds left until halftime. On the very next play quarterback Dylan Bell connected with Nate Kellar in the end zone on a play that sent the Grenadiers into the break with a 14-7 lead.

A 50-yard return of the second-half kickoff by Matt Pendergast set Kingston up on the Oshawa 30 and seven running plays later, Bell carried over from the one as the Grenadiers’ lead grew to 14 points. Oshawa drove the field on its next possesssion but the drive died when the Hawkeyes failed on fourth down at the Kingston 16.

That proved to be the visitors’ last gasp. Cole Goodfellow scored on a six-yard run in the second minute of the fourth quarter and the Grenadiers closed with interception returns of 50 and 55 yards for TDs by Pendergast and Jay Dearborn, respectively, on consecutive Oshawa possessions.

Mike Bashall converted all six Kingston touchdowns.

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