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Fourth-quarter spurt secures Holy Cross victory

October 19, 2013

For 41 minutes of their football game Friday afternoon, the Bayridge Blazers, a team with a winless record and a backup quarterback starting his first senior game, gave the Holy Cross Crusaders all that they could handle.

Then, in a span of about three minutes, the Crusaders gave Bayridge more than it could digest.

A sudden 21-point outburst turned a three-point ball game into a 31-8 Holy Cross victory in one of two Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior football games Friday afternoon.

In the other, the Frontenac Falcons remained undefeated with a 30-3 win over the Sydenham Golden Eagles.

Playing on O’Connor Sportsfield at Bayridge, Holy Cross looked like it would have its way with the home team, as the Crusaders marched smartly on their first possession, one that ended with Jeremy Pendergast scoring a touchdown on about an eight-yard run.

A David Wallace field goal not long after that put the visitors ahead 10-0 but Bayridge, desperate for a win in their final regular-season game, hung tough. The Blazers kept Holy Cross out of their end zone, blocked two field goal attempts and, early in the fourth quarter, got a touchdown of their own. A single on the ensuing kickoff cut the gap to 10-8 and after Bayridge held the Crusaders on their next possession, the Blazers got the ball back near their own 35-yard line.

That’s when disaster struck for the plucky home team.

Connor DeSousa intercepted a pass and took it about 50 yards for a Holy Cross touchdown. Bayridge fumbled the subsequent kickoff and a handful of plays later, Emmanuel Onwuemeodo scored another major. When Bayridge got the ball back, the Crusaders intercepted again, as Darien Leblanc took it about 65 yards down the left sideline for Holy Cross’ third touchdown in a row.

Owen Henderson-Hahn set up the Bayridge score when he connected with Will Robinson on a pass that went to the Holy Cross one-yard line. Griffin Bouffard carried into the end zone on the very next play.

The win improved the Holy Cross record to 3-2, moving the Crusaders into a tie for third place with the idle Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers. It puts added significance on the annual Catholic Cup game next Thursday night at the Invista Centre, where the teams will meet to decide not only third place in the regular year, but which team will have home field for a AAA semifinal game.

Frontenac will host the other AAA semifinal after the Falcons improved to 5-0 at McLellan Field in Sydenham.

Aidan Stride, Rob Magee, Tyson Losier and Braeden Stevenhaagen scored the touchdowns for Frontenac. Sydenham, 2-3, got its points from a rouge and a safety.

On the final day of the regular season next Thursday, Sydenham will visit Ernestown, where the Eagles are 1-5. La Salle, 4-1, will have a chance to snatch first place from the two-time defending champion Falcons at Frontenac.

Sydenham can still avoid a date with Frontenac in the opening round of AAA playoffs if it can defeat Ernestown, and Holy Cross loses to Regi. That would leave the Golden Eagles and Crusaders tied at 3-3 and Sydenham would be favoured in that tie breaker for having won the regular-season meeting in Week 1.

 

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