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Spartans Victorious in Semifinal
Nov. 15, 2017
Spartans Victorious in Semifinal
The grip of winter began to take hold with a damp, cold Monday afternoon in the Cage. The Lorne Park Spartans were once again head to head with a talented and physical team from St. Aquinas, but this time in an elimination game, with the winner heading to the ROPSSAA Final.
The teams were very familiar with each other, having met up in the regular season finale and the familiarity caused some chipiness but it was a good competitive playoff game between two talented teams. The Spartans came out on top with a 47 - 6 victory but it was a much better football game than the score might suggest.
The offense had their hands full with an aggressive Cardinal pass rush and a muddy field for traction but once again the team could rely on the arm of Nolan Dillingham and the deep squad of quality recievers the team is lucky to have. It was a day of insane catches, kicked off with Braden Jauernig showing off his concentration and hands with a superb contested catch in the endzone. Few junior receivers would have the ability to catch a ball in double coverage but Jauernig is not like most receivers; he has impressed all season with his route running and focus and it paid off with the touchdown. Unbelievably it was not even the best catch of the day for him, as he followed it up with an absolute stunning highlight catch that any Senior receiver would be proud of, tracking down a deep ball thrown by a scrambling Dillingham. Not to be outdone, Francis St. Onge competed for the catch of the day with a terrific tip up and secured catch, that reminded Patriot fans in the crowd of the Kearse Superbowl catch. The catch was again a tribute to the concentration and effort of a Spartan receiver. The ground game was also a little slow getting started but it was once again the downhill running and superb vision of Chey Charles that started to break the defense down. Charles consistently earned yards that helped the offense get a rhythm. The offensive line worked well in a tough situation, the opponent was rushing without fear but Carter Parsons and Liam Ventresca both held their own and James Spalding continued to develop in both the pass and run game. As the team built in confidence, tailback Liam Bowman added the final shots with long scoring runs that helped build up the lead to the point of no return for the opponent. Bowman who leads the team in scores and most times booed by his teammates, put on a show and took over the semifinal, putting the team on his back.
The defense held up their end of the bargain with a strong performance. The linebacker unit of Max Henry, Liam Jeewan, Mason Tonks and Carr Hogan set the edge and controlled the run and prevented the skilled Cardinal backs any time to make a read or a cut. The defensive line also had a great day with gameday captain Kofi Danso, slicing into the backfield consistently causing problems for the Aquinas offense. Dougal Graham's skill and speed is so consistent, it can be easy to take it for granted but he is a special player and he once again showed why he is a force on the field, tracking down the quarterback and running backs, with speed rarely associated with a defensive lineman. And the final piece to the front 7 was rookie Liam Ventresca who showed why he is a player who will go on to great things on the football field. Ventresca has quick feet and heavy hands, and the Spartans are glad he is on our side. The defensive backfield had a good day, with Noel Hancocks absolutely crushing runs in pursuit mode and his blitzes caused consistent problems for the quarterback and the offense. Free safety Shadi Abdelmalik continued his ball hawking with a textbook high pointing and although Max Ramsay was not in a position to grab one on the day, Nolan is aware of his ball hawking prowess.
The oft discussed and soon to be awarded Pump Players of the Game were: Liam Bowman who took whom the offensive award with a 4 touchdown day, a case that is hard for anyone to argue with. The Pump Defensive Player of the Game was Noel Hancocks, who continues to make his way toward the title of best Hancocks playing at Lorne Park.
It was a slow start with some sloppy moments but a solid team win is not to be dismissed and this was a good team win in a semifinal. The Spartans are now preparing for the final, a rematch with a talented St. Marcellinus team on Thursday, November 16 at 11:00am at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke. Any adult over the age of 12, who would like to come cheer on the team need to purchase a $7.00 ticket through the team at school, as no tickets will be sold at the door. The team hopes that a great turnout from the school and community comes to cheer on the guys who have put in the work and time to try and achieve the goal.