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Dec 10, 2017 - 2017 Lorne Park Football Banquet

2017 Lorne Park Football Banquet

The Junior and Senior teams put a bow on their historic 2017 football seasons with an evening of celebration at the 59th annual Lorne Park Spartans Football Banquet, put together by the Lorne Park Boosters.

The captains of both teams unveiled their championship ring designs, Lorne Park's ROPSSAA All-Stars were honoured, there was a pre-screening of the 2017 Junior and Senior highlight videos, individual award winners were presented with trophies, all players were presented with championship medals, and a lot of good food was consumed.

At Lorne Park, jackets and rings are only ordered when a team wins the Peel championship.  With the last Junior ROPSSAA title in 2012, and the last Senior ROPSSAA title in 2014, there were no jackets or rings in the school these past three months for the first time since the fall of 1994.  After a championship win, the team captains design both the jackets and the rings.  The two ring designs were unveiled to parents and players at the beginning of the banquet.

Rings can be ordered up until December 20th by clicking the image above.

For the first time in several years, ROPSSAA brought back their Football All-Star Team.  Six Spartans were selected to the 24-man team, including QB Christian Smodis, OL Riley Birch, WR Will Manko, DL Cal Duncan, LB Luke Tejerina, and DB Chris Haggart.  Additionally, Christian Smodis was voted League MVP, an incredible honour for the grade 11 pivot who quickly played his way out of Alex Lavric's shadow.

The Junior Football individual award winners were as follows:

Dave Turner Offensive MVP Award - Nolan Dillingham / Liam Bowman

Most Valuable Defensive Player - Max Ramsay / Max Henry

Manny Castillo Special Teams MVP Award - Francis St. Onge

Colin Guthrie Award - Zander Castro Wiese

Most Valuable Lineman - Dougal Graham

Coach's Award - Shadi Abdelmalik

 Most Valuable Freshman - Liam Ventresca

Junior Team Managers - Spencer Robson, Bish Sunner, Maya Ivancevic and Sia Manolakis

The Senior Football individual award winners were as follows: 

Offensive MVP - Will Manko

Defensive MVP - Chris Haggart

Most Valuable Lineman - Cal Duncan

Rick Millar Memorial Award - Rowan Hancocks

Doug Dixon Award - Jakob Page

Special Teams MVP - Luke Tejerina

Rookie of the Year - Christian Smodis

John Musselman Student Athlete Award - Duncan Rolston

Senior Team Managers - Maya Reynolds and Sydney Buchanan

Head of the Lorne Park Boosters - Christina Birch

For now, the locker rooms are empty and the football field is quiet as both teams celebrate their amazing accomplishments this season and catch up on schoolwork.  But the offseason is always a short one at Lorne Park.  Soon, graduating seniors will start considering their offers and committing to universities, and all returning players will be given their offseason workout schedules.  As anyone who has won one can attest, the only thing more difficult than winning a ROPSSAA Championship is defending one.

Dec 8, 2017 - 2017 Lorne Park Championship Rings

2017 Lorne Park Championship Rings

The Lorne Park Spartans Senior Football Championship ring, designed by the team captains, is now avail to order by clicking the link below.  All orders must be in by December 20th.

https://store.baronrings.ca/collections/lorne-park-football

Dec 3, 2017 - The Spartans Are OFSAA Champions

The Spartans Are OFSAA Champions

The Lorne Park Spartans are Provincial Champions once again following a last-second, nerve-racking, hair-greying, movie-like finish in their OFSAA Central Bowl win over the Jacob Hespeler Hawks at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

With a strong wind sweeping the length of the field, Jacob Hespeler's Darrian Morgan booted the opening kickoff through the endzone for a rouge that put the Hawks up 1-0.

Lorne Park answered on their following drive.  In punt formation on third down from their own 40, Chris Haggart took a direct snap up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown.  The extra point would fail, but the Spartans had a 6-1 lead.

On their next drive, the Hawks penetrated deep into Lorne Park territory, but Morgan's field goal sailed wide for a single.

The score would remain that way until the first play of the second quarter when Haggart struck again, this time on a jet sweep from five yards out to put the Spartans up 13-2.

Lorne Park added to their lead a few minutes later when QB Christian Smodis dropped it in perfectly to Will Manko for a 27-yard touchdown making it 20-2.

The Spartans appeared to put the game away on the ensuing kickoff when Seth Robertson fumbled the ball in his own endzone and Lorne Park's Sam Mackenzie recovered for the touchdown, but an inadvertent whistle meant that the Spartans had to settle for a rouge instead.

The Hawks, struggling to put a drive together finally cashed in late in the second quarter when WR Seth Robertson broke a tackle on a jet sweep of his own and scampered 61 yards into the endzone to make it 21-9 at the half.

Nothing went right for Lorne Park in the third quarter.  Facing a strong wind, the Spartans couldn't get anything going offensively, and the Hawks rallied for two touchdowns.  Facing third and inches Jacob Hespeler's Joel Watson took a quarterback-sneak to the house from 51 yards out.  Then, after 30 yards in Lorne Park penalties, Watson snuck into the endzone once again, this time from a yard out, making the score 25-21 in favour of the Hawks.

With time sliding irrevocably into the past, things got worse for the Spartans.  On second and long, Smodis scrambled to his left and injured his knee fighting for a first down, forcing the Spartans to punt the ball away one last time.

The Spartans defense held on first and second down, and the Hawks, facing a strong wind attempted a fake punt on third and long but the pass was intercepted by LB Rowan Hancocks, setting the stage for what will be known forevermore as "The Drive".

With under a minute remaining, needing a touchdown, with Smodis ruled out for the remainder of the game, and no timeouts left, RB Jakob Page took the helm, not having thrown a single pass all season.  On first down, Page's pass was batted away at the line of scrimmage.  Chris Haggart ran the ball on second down, gaining only a yard, as the clock continued to run.  Facing third and nine, their season hanging in the balance, the Spartans spread out five-wide, with trips to the right side.  Page took the snap, dropped back, and fired a rocket downfield to Will Manko on a wheel route.  Manko took to the air, splitting defenders and somehow came down with the ball at the Jacob Hespeler 36-yard line with 36 seconds left and running.  The Spartans hustled to the line, and Page the gunslinger fired another shot, this time to Riley Farquharson on a dig route down to the 21-yard line.  With the clock still ticking, Haggart found the edge on another jet sweep and fought his way down to the seven yard line.  Then, with 15 seconds remaining, Page took the snap, surveyed the field and rifled it into the endzone for WR Ryan Di Florio who jumped over a defender and secured the ball as he fell to the ground with the winning touchdown and the Provincial Championship.

The Lorne Park bench exploded and Spartans fans rejoiced, having witnessed what may have been the most exciting finish to a game in Lorne Park Spartans Football history.

Nov 24, 2017 - OFSAA Preview - The Jacob Hespeler Hawks

OFSAA Preview - The Jacob Hespeler Hawks

Game: OFSAA Championship

Date: Tuesday, November 28th

Location: Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton

Time: 10:00am

Opponent: Jacob Hespeler Hawks (11-0)

Ticket Information: Tickets are $10 at the gate.

 

What Spartans Fans Need to Know About the Hawks

The Jacob Hespeler Hawks (Cambridge) are members of the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association (WCSSAA), competing in a single-tier, two-division, 12-team football league.  To qualify for OFSAA, the WCSSAA Champion must win the CWOSSA tournament, competing against champions from the BCSSAA, BAA, District 4, District 8, District 10, and the NSSAA.

The Hawks have won five straight WCSSAA Championships, not having lost a WCSSAA game in over five years, and are returning to the OFSAA Central bowl for the second straight year.

How They Got Here

Jacob Hespeler opened the season with a 51-8 drubbing of the Huron Heights Huskies (Kitchener).  The game was essentially over in the first half as the Hawks scored on every offensive possession.  QB Elijah Cruickshank logged three touchdowns on the ground with Seth Robertson adding two more and Ian Kuwabara capping it off with another.  Darrian Morgan's three field goals kept the scoreboard turning.

The Hawks improved to 2-0 with a 56-12 win over the Waterloo-Oxford Crusaders (Baden).  In another game that was over by half, with Jacob Hespeler up 28-1, Robertson rushed for two majors and hauled in another from Cruickshank, who tallied two rushing scores of his own.  Backs Xavier Pineda, Ian Kuwabara, and Ethan Butler each added a touchdown.

A convincing 43-3 victory over the Preston Panthers (Cambridge) moved the Hawks to 3-0, and featured the defense more than the offense for the first time in the young season.  Jacob Hespeler worked with a short field all day long thanks to relentless defensive pressure and multiple turnovers.  The defense was also credited with a safety.  Pineda, Kuwabara, and Robertson each added to their touchdown totals, while Josh Gilpin notched his first two majors of the season.

The Hawks defense continued to shine in a cold and windy 26-0 win over yet more Panthers - of the Glenview Park (Cambridge) variety this time.  The Hawks spent the entire game in Glenview's end, but miscues and trouble passing into the wind left Jacob Hespeler with a slim lead at the half.  Robertson put the team on his shoulders and found the endzone two more times with Gilpin adding a second half touchdown.

The Hawks improved to 5-0 with a 51-10 win over the KCI Raiders (Kitchener). Pineda scored two touchdowns on the ground and brought in another from Cruickshank.  Seth Robertson ran for yet another touchdown and added a receiving major from 20 yards out.  Morgan booted another three field goals in the blowout win.

Jacob Hespeler's sixth win was a 49-9 drubbing of the undefeated Waterloo Vikings (Waterloo), which locked up top spot in the division for the Hawks.  Pineda cashed in three touchdowns, Cruickshank ran in another two, and Kuwabara also rumbled for a score.  Morgan casually booted another three field goals, as he does.

In the WCSSAA Quarter-Finals, the Hawks smashed the Waterloo-Oxford Crusaders (Baden) 38-7, and it wasn't that close.  With the Crusaders stacking eight in the box, Cruickshank went to the air, hitting Robertson with a 55-yard touchdown, and Pineda with a 35-yarder.  The Hawks were up 22-0 seven minutes into the game, and they'd add a safety before the first quarter was through.  Pineda closed it out from there with two touchdown runs as the Hawks cruised to another easy victory.

Jacob Hespler took the WCSSAA Semi-Final 45-9, but the Sir John A. MacDonald Highlanders (Waterloo) gave them a run for their money early on.  Pineda opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, and Aidan Carter hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass two minutes later to put the Hawks up 14-0, but the Highlanders struck back with a bomb of their own right before the end of the quarter.  That was as close as it would get, however, as Gilpin and Cruickshank each ran in a second quarter touchdown and then Connor Martinez cashed in a pick-six as the half expired. Morgan added a third quarter field goal, and Carter brought in a 40-yarder late in the game.

With the mercury well below zero in the WCSSAA Championship game, the Grand River Renegades (Kitchener) gave Jacob Hespeler's offense another good test. Up 6-0 midway through the second quarter, the Hawks found their game. Devan Flaming scored his first touchdown of the year, and Morgan easily knocked through a 35-yard field goal.  Pineda crashed through on two second half touchdowns and the defense held true as the Hawks claimed their fifth straight WCSSAA title with a 32-1 win.

In the CWOSSA Semi-Finals, the St. Benedict Saints (Cambridge) forced Jacob Hespeler to find another gear once again. The Hawks opened the scoring early with a 29-yard touchdown run from Robertson, but with just over a minute gone in the second quarter, they found themselves holding on to a 9-7 lead, pinned deep in their own end facing a strong wind.  Pineda finished off a 100-yard drive with a 20-yard screen pass from Cruickshank, and then Robertson took a punt back 75 yards to put the Hawks up 23-7 at the half.  Pineda added a short touchdown run in the third, and a highlight-reel-scamper from 81 yards out in the fourth to put the Hawks back into the CWOSSA Final with a 39-13 win.

The CWOSSA Championship game was the toughest test of the season for the Hawks as the Brantford C.I. Mustangs (Brantford) and Mother Nature gave them everything they could handle for three quarters.  The Hawks scored on their first possession as Seth Robertson capped a 52-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown.  The Mustangs tied it up early in the second, and the teams exchanged field goals to even the score 10-10 going into the break.  Morgan would add a field goal in the third and two more in the fourth as the Hawks defense stood tall.  Pineda's hard-running resulted in a fourth quarter touchdown, and the Hawks booked another trip to Tim Hortons Field with a 26-10 victory.

Hawks Players to Watch

QB #1 Elijah Cruickshank - A converted possession-receiver, Cruickshank, who backed up QB Jackson White (McMaster) last season while also starting out wide, has had an incredible season under center. Displaying great touch on crossing routes, an accurate deep arm, convincing play-action, and an outstanding ability to read defenses, this dual-threat QB is the glue that holds the Hawks offense together.

RB/CB #3/#18 Xavier Pineda - Pineda's #3 jersey ripped across the back against St. Benedict, and then basically fell off against BCI, forcing him to switch to #18. Appropriately, with 18 touchdowns, Pineda was the Hawks offense at times this season.  This shifty back features outstanding change of direction and explosion, and is one of Cruickshank's favourite targets, not only on screen and flat-routes, but deep downfield as well.  Pineda is one of only a few Hawks who play ironman football, doubling as the field corner on defense.

WR/FS #4 Seth Robertson - Jacob Hespeler opponents spent more time scheming for Robertson than any other Hawk.  Often shadowed, and sometimes double-covered, this Grade 11 standout keeps defenses on their toes, lining up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield, and occasionally at quarterback.  Robertson has great hands and speed, runs routes with precision, and is as difficult to tackle in the open field as Pineda. On defense, Robertson is a ball-hawking free safety with quick recognition and closing speed.

WR #7 Aidan Carter - Carter didn't find the endzone until the WCSSAA Semi-Finals, but this experienced sure-handed receiver is a downfield threat.  Carter fights off press-coverage well, uses his body to box out defenders, and does a great job of finding open space when Cruickshank is forced to scramble.  Generally lined up opposite Robertson, Carter forces opposing free safeties to play honestly or pay the price.

LB #15 Connor Martinez - Martinez changes direction with ease and does a great job anticipating routes, picking up receivers in space, and reading the quarterback's eyes.  Martinez sniffs out screens and draws well and has terrific hands.

K #41 Darrian Morgan - This fifth year kicker was the hero of last season, booting a 41-yarder to send the Hawks to the 2016 CWOSSA Championship.  It's unlikely anyone has kicked more field goals in Ontario this season than Morgan's 22.  Morgan's range is close to 50 yards, and he's near-automatic from inside 40.

LB #54 Cam Coughlin - A middle linebacker with great instincts, Coughlin has a knack for timing blitzes and disrupting the backfield.  Coughlin uses his height and reach well when dropping back into coverage.  He is a sure-tackler with good closing speed who always takes a good pursuit angle.

DT #72 Tom Bloomfield - Bloomfield is a run-stopping force in the interior.  He's quick off the ball, has a powerful push, and keeps his legs driving to the whistle.  Bloomfield loves contact and spends most games fighting through double-teams.

RT #85 Jacob Bradley - Easily the tallest Hawks player, Bradley is also one of the most powerful.  Anchoring the Jacob Hespeler offensive line, Bradley is an unstoppable run-blocker, but fast enough to pull on a counter-trey.  When pass-blocking, Bradley is difficult to bull-rush due to his size and strength, and has a quick kick slide, making him difficult to beat around the edge.  Bradley also sees situational spot-duty on the defensive line.

Coach Price's Comments on Jacob Hespeler

"This is a highly-skilled, well-coached team.  You don't get to 11-0 without being special, and they certainly are that.  They're the class of WCSSAA right now having won five straight championships, and with some of the usual suspects in that region rebuilding, they were the logical choice to come out of CWOSSA.  We felt good about our chances in Peel this year, so as soon as we found out that ROPSSAA was matching up against the CWOSSA champs at OFSAA, we thought it would be a good idea to keep an eye on them.  They're tough to scheme for defensively because they give you a bit of everything.  They change their game plan week-to-week and attack you where they feel you're most vulnerable.  Defensively, they're disciplined, a bend-but-don't-break unit.  Teams had trouble stringing positive plays together against them, and field goals just aren't going to cut it. We know we're going to have to be at our best on Tuesday or we'll be watching them celebrate when it's all over."

Nov 16, 2017 - LPTV SportsCenter: ROPSSAA Championship

LPTV SportsCenter: ROPSSAA Championship

 

Nov 16, 2017 - 2017 ROPSSAA Senior Football Champions

2017 ROPSSAA Senior Football Champions

The Lorne Park Spartans are the 2017 ROPSSAA Football Champions following a decisive 33-0 win over the St. Marcellinus Spirit at Etobicoke Centennial Stadium on Wednesday.  This is the third Peel title in five years for one of the most storied football programs in the province in their 35th appearance at the regional final.

The Spartans set the tone right out of the gate.  On the first play from scrimmage, DE Cal Duncan stripped the football and DT Seth Kirkham recovered, giving Lorne Park the football in Spirit territory.

Lorne Park QB Christain Smodis, led the team quickly down the field, scrambling for 15 yards, and then hitting Chris Haggart with a short pass before launching one into the endzone to WR Riley Farquharson who climbed the ladder and brought it down for the opening score.

The Spirit recovered their own fumble to open the next possession, then managed to put together two first downs with strong runs from David Spence, Scott Murray and Eric Colonna.  The drive stalled once they crossed midfield, and the Spartans took over.

Backs Frank Mensah and Jakob Page each burst through the Spirit defense for first down runs and then Smodis unleashed a 54-yard bomb to WR Will Manko to put the Spartans up 14-0.

The next Spirit possession was short-lived as LB Mike Ugliano came flying into the Spirit backfield and forced another fumble.  DE Luke Tejerina recovered, and the Spartans were back in business as the nightmare first quarter continued for St. Marcellinus.

Lorne Park continued to move the ball at will as Smodis found Manko streaking across the middle of the field for a 28-yard gain.  Then Mensah carved out another 21, Farquharson hauled in a 15-yard pass, and Smodis plunged into the endzone from a yard out.  The extra point would fail, but the Spartans had built a comfortable 20-0 lead as the second quarter began.

The Spartans recovered the ensuing onside kick, but it didn't travel the required 10 yards, giving St. Marcellinus their best field position of the game.  The Spirit couldn't make anything of it offensively, but Christopher Micelli's pooch punt on third and long was a thing of beauty, and a holding penalty backed the Spartans up to their own 1-yard line.

The drive that followed would essentially end the game.  From in his own endzone, Smodis found Manko on a short hook route that he somehow managed to turn into a first down.  Mensah turned consecutive carries into another first down, and then Smodis found Ryan Di Florio flying down the sideline for another 26 yards.  Smodis would go back to Di Florio for an 11-yard gain on the next play, and then Manko came down with the catch of the day, a leaping 27-yarder over the middle to set the Spartans up inside the Spirit 20.  Page brought the ball down to the 8-yard line, and then Smodis connected with Di Florio in the corner of the endzone for the score.  The Spartans drove 109 yards for the touchdown, and any hope the Spirit had of getting back into the game vanished.

Lorne Park would take a 30-0 lead into halftime and shut it down in the second half as they went on to win 33-0, claiming the ROPSSAA Championship and advancing to the OFSAA final, where they'll look to claim their fourth provincial title.

Smodis finished the game 21 of 27 for 358 yards and three touchdowns, adding another on the ground.  Manko had six receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown, Di Florio had seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, and Farquharson had four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.  Frank Mensah led all rushers with 94 yards on 13 carries.

For the Spirit, Merritt was 4 of 10 for 31 yards.  Spence led St. Marcellinus on the ground with 61 yards on 12 carries. Colonna had one reception for 17 yards, and Kerr had two for 9 yards.

Lorne Park's opponent at OFSAA is the yet-to-be-decided CWOSSA Champion.  The game will be played at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton at 10:00am on Tuesday, November 28th.

Nov 11, 2017 - LPTV SportsCenter: ROPSSAA Semi-Finals

LPTV SportsCenter: ROPSSAA Semi-Finals

 

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