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2017 ROPSSAA Senior Football Champions
Nov. 16, 2017
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.
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