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Spartans Down Cardinals
Nov. 2, 2017
Spartans Down Cardinals
QB Christian Smodis scans the muddy field for an open receiver. [Photo: Christina Birch]
The Lorne Park Spartans wrapped up the regular season with a 31-0 win over the St. Thomas Aquinas Cardinals in The Cage on Thursday.
The rain held off, but it was muddy in The Cage, as it often is this time of year, and running the ball proved something of a challenge for both teams. The Cardinals opened the game with a running play that lost two yards. Their second attempt went for no gain, and they never attempted another run after that with 32 consecutive pass attempts.
On their first drive of the game, Lorne Park QB Christian Smodis hit WR Will Manko for a short completion, and then connected with WR Riley Farquharson for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Spartans up 7-0.
The Spartans got the ball back quickly when FS Chris Haggart picked off an errant pass from QB Brando Mancia. This time Smodis dialed up WR Jared Benson for a 29-yard touchdown and the Spartans led 14-0.
Mancia began the next Cardinal possession with a 29-yard completion to WR Matthew Raghunath over the middle, but a Cal Duncan sack to start the second quarter brought that drive to an end.
With the ball just short of midfield, Smodis called his own number, gingerly working his way through the mud for 18 yards, and then spun it out to Farquharson on the next play for a 9-yard gain. RB Frank Mensah worked back-to-back carries down to the Cardinals 10-yard line, and then Smodis, with everyone well covered, tucked and took it himself for the touchdown.
With five minutes left in the half, the Cardinals threatened once again. Mancia launched a deep ball over the middle to WR Daunte Rowe who made a sensational diving catch. On the next play, however, DE Cal Duncan tipped Mancia's pass, and DT Luke Mezgec came down with the interception.
Smodis, continuing to spread the ball around, hit WR Jalen Scott for a gain of 18, WR Ryan Di Florio for 36 more, and then Jared Benson for a 10-yard touchdown to put Lorne Park up 28-0.
The Cardinals began the third quarter with a spark as Mancia lofted one up to WR Malik Kelly for a 33-yard gain, but sacks from Mezgec and DT Seth Kirkham put an end to that drive.
Lorne Park would add a 17-yard Luke Tejerina field goal on their opening drive of the third quarter, and that would do it for scoring plays as the Spartans cruised to a 31-0 win.
Smodis finished his day 11 of 15 for 227 yards and three touchdowns, adding another 28 yards and a major on the ground. Di Florio's two catches went for 101 yards, Benson's two catches went for two touchdowns, and Farquharson contributed another TD on his two receptions.
Defensively for the Spartans, Duncan, Mezgec, Kirkham, and Davyn Webster-Cho each collected a sack while Haggart, McCullough, Mezgec, and Webster-Cho had the Lorne Park interception.
For the Cardinals, Mancia went 11 of 28 for 176 yards and four interceptions. Kelly led all Cardinals receivers with five receptions for 97 yards.
With the win, Lorne Park finishes the regular season in second place, and will play the third place St. Roch Ravens next Thursday at a time that has yet to be determined. The first place St. Marcellinus Spirit will host the David Suzuki Grizzlies in the other Semi-Final matchup.