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Regi wins third straight senior football match

October 10, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Losing their first two games of the season, scoring just one touchdown in each, wasn’t a particularly auspicious start for the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers.

Then along came the Sydenham Golden Eagles.

Normally the Sydenham game would not be a welcome date on the schedule of an 0-2 football team but this year the Panthers turned it to their favour. A victory that day is looking more and more like the catalyst of a successful season, after Regi extended its winning streak to three games Wednesday afternoon by handing the visiting Ernestown Eagles a 34-0 victory at Brother O’Gara Field.

The win gave the Panthers a share of first place in the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association standings, with unbeaten Frontenac, 3-0, and La Salle, 3-1. Waiting for their chance to join the logjam are the Holy Cross Crusaders, 2-1, who will host Frontenac Thursday afternoon at 3:30.

The Golden Eagles had just beaten Holy Cross when they landed at Regi for a game two weeks ago that the home team won 16-4.

“Sydenham is notoriously such a great team, such a strong team, and they were coming off (that) win,” Panthers coach Ryan Poser said, adding that as a fellow AAA team, the Golden Eagles are a team Regi could well see again in the playoffs.

“We were very motivated for that game,” Poser said. “You really want to see how you’re going to measure up against those playoff teams.”

When the game was done, Poser said, he could see what it meant to his players.

“There were a lot of veterans here who needed the win against Sydenham,” he said. “It kind of boosted us into a good flow, gave us a little bit of momentum.”

Amid the 0-2 start, Poser said his players never got discouraged, even though “we’ve struggled over the last couple of years.”

“Once we got the taste of that win over Sydenham it was, ‘Yeah, we can continue the winning tradition we had years ago,’” he said. “Guys, once they experience that success, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that hard work is starting to pay off. I’m not running laps and dropping the ball. I’m not running laps and it’s not coming my way. I’m getting paid for all this work.’”

Poser said typically a team’s expectation at the start of any season is to make the playoffs. The beauty of this year, he continued, is everybody makes the playoffs, “so … you don’t have that pressure of, ‘We’ve got to win today to make the playoffs, you can just focus on (what you need to do).

“If we’re unsuccessful in a game, like we were at La Salle, sure, everybody hates to lose, but you can turn around and work specifically on things that need it.”

Two areas of the Regi game have shown marked improvement — the offensive line and quarterback Courtney Norris.

“Our offensive line is exceptional, compared to a couple of years ago,” Poser said. “We’ve got a great group of veterans and they’re smart. They can read a defence and know who to pick up and who not to pick on any given play.

“Courtney Norris has taken more of a leadership role. In years past, and certainly last year, he was dependent on this athletic ability. He’s a very, very good athlete. This year he’s turning into a quarterback. He’s throwing the ball a lot better. He makes the right reads and success has bred more confidence.”

After a Nick Carriere field goal gave Regi the lead in the game’s eighth minute, the Panthers got their first touchdown with five seconds to play in the first quarter. The score stayed 10-0 until Carriere kicked his second field goal of the game three and a half minutes into the second half and the Panthers’ defence was making the 13-0 lead going into the fourth quarter seem pretty comfortable.

Fullback Ameen Aghamirian scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the home team a 20-0 advantage. Backup quarterback Quinton Autie and Chris Wylie connected for an eight-yard touchdown pass five minutes later and, after Regi’s Joe Callery intercepted a pass on Ernestown’s next possession, Autie and Josh Brown combined for a seven-yard TD that completed scoring.

In addition to the marquee game at Daniel Field there’s one other senior game Thursday, when Sydenham will host the winless Bayridge Blazers under the lights at McLellan Field in the second game of the annual Bubba Bowl doubleheader. The senior contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

 

 

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