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Regi, Holy Cross rebound from defeats for senior football victories

October 3, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

It was a pivotal play by a pivotal player.

Early in a ball game that was still close, Connor Tobin, the do-anything member of the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers, took the football near midfield. It was an unassuming off-tackle run to his left, but as would-be tacklers started falling in his wake, it suddenly became apparent that that he might score.

He did, and it proved to be an important play in a Centennial Trophy senior football game Regi went on to win 45-3 over the Kingston-Queen Elizabeth Combines at Brother O’Gara Field.

“It was just sheer effort,” Regi coach Ryan Poser said of what became a 50-yard touchdown run.

Coming as it did, right after KC had converted a turnover into a field goal that make the score 7-3, Tobin’s dash down the sideline was perhaps Regi’s most important touchdown of a highly productive day.

“At that point it’s anybody’s ball game,” Poser said. “If you get that second score, the table turns. Momentum starts going in your favour.”

Indeed it did. The Panthers scored touchdowns on consecutive series in the second quarter, and the home team led 27-3 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Regi scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the game, both after KC turnovers.

One of the league’s premier defensive players, Tobin is a linebacker by trade but also spends time in the Regi offensive backfield, usually as a slotback.

“He’s one of those guys who can play anywhere,” Poser said. “He’s just going to say, ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir,’ “Where do you want me to go?’ ‘What do you want me to do?’

“He’s a good athlete, very talented. He’s definitely capable of playing at the next level.”

Quiet but smart, Poser says having Tobin in the game is like having a coach on the field.

“You never have to worry about anyone being out of position,” Poser said, adding that Tobin has what his coach calls “intrinsic motivation.”

“He doesn’t need a coach who yells at him to do another pushup, another rep. He has that motivation from within to be a better athlete.

“He’s a quiet leader, but you can tell that all of the kids will come to him. He does everything well and he works hard at it. Even the play today, all the kids were excited because he’s a truly a defensive player, getting an opportunity to run the ball.”

Regi, 2-1, responded well from a 30-6 defeat at the hands of La Salle last week. Thursday’s performance stemmed from a productive week of practice, Poser said.

“(The players) were disappointed. You could say La Salle handed it to us. Our last couple of days of practice were a great tempo. The guys were working hard. It just carried over to today.”

For the Combines—there are seven QE players on a team that wears the uniform of the KC Blues and is coached by QE teacher Brandon Watt—it was the second game of the year and their first loss of the season.

Getting permission from the school board to run the combined team provided an opportunity for kids at both schools to have football, he said, “in the interim between now and whenever the amalgamation process happens.”

“I’m really happy with the way the guys have come together,” Watt said. “You can’t really see a difference at practice. They work together well.

“Because we’ve had previous experience with some combined rugby stuff last year, we didn’t have any of those issues with the athletes coming together to form a team. It was actually really positive; they enjoyed each other.”

Watt said he had no reservations about trying to blend students from two schools into one team, only logistical issues related to moving people and equipment back and forth. The team practises at Winston Churchill Public School, KC’s home field, though there’s a game scheduled at QE Oct. 17 and Watt hopes to practise there in the week leading to that contest.

“The kids that are really excited, they’re happy to have the opportunity (to play),” he said. “It’s something new that they’d never thought they’d be able to experience.

“We don’t have any kids at QE (who played the game). It’s been six years now since we’ve had a team and all the athletes that played football have passed through. The whole crew is new to football. It’s been a learning curve there but it’s been a good one.”

Regi scored on just its second play from scrimmage, a 70-yard pass from quarterback Quinton Auty to Jordan Pringle. After Speros Kanellos kicked a 17-yard field goal for KC, Tobin’s long touchdown run gave the Panthers a 13-3 lead.

A 44-yard completion from Auty to Tyrell Downer was the big play in a drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown run by Matt Truelove. After an interception by Ethan Hunt at the KC 40-yard line on the next series, Nick Danielle scored on a 10-yard run. A Regi single on the subsequent kickoff made the score 27-3 at halftime.

KC’s best opportunity to score, first-and-goal from the 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, died amid a fumble and two shotgun snaps over the head of quarterback Mark Lappan. Immediately after that Auty and Pringle connected on a 36-yard touchdown and after another Regi interception, Panthers kicker Nick Carriere turned a botched field-goal try into an eight-yard touchdown run on the second-last play of the game.

In Thursday’s other Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior game, the Holy Cross Crusaders intercepted four passes on their way to a 29-6 win over the Napanee Golden Hawks.

Matt Peterson, Mark Guanzon, Gabe Bach and Alex du Bios each intercepted a Napanee pass, before Hawks quarterback Liam Maracle connected with Hayden Ford for a last-minute touchdown, ending a two-game scoring drought for the winless Hawks.

Playing in Napanee, Holy Cross, 2-1, led 22-0 at halftime. The Crusaders got two touchdowns from Jeremy Pendergast, one of them on a pass from Phil Gagnon, and one TD apiece from David Wallace and Emmanuel Onwuemeodo.

On Friday, the Frontenac Falcons and La Salle Black Knights will both be seeking their second win of the season when they clash at 5 p.m. at La Salle, and the winless Ernestown Eagles will be trying to get back into the thick of the triple-A playoff picture when they host the Bayridge Blazers, 1-1, at 4:45 in Odessa.

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