‘Just an­other game’

Sure it is, only big­ger, with more fans, at night, un­der the lights . . .

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - TODD HAM­BLE­TON tham­ble­ton@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Free­hold­erTodd

It’s a big game, the an­nual Char­ity Bowl un­der the lights. But it’s just an­other game. “That’s how you have to ap­proach it — just an­other game,’’ said St. Joseph’s quar­ter­back Brody Fair­bairn at a Pan­thers work­out on Tues­day af­ter­noon, as the 2-1 team pre­pared for Thurs­day night’s show­down with the 1-2 Holy Trin­ity Fal­cons. “We just have to ap­proach it like any other game, and go out there and be con­fi­dent about our­selves.’’

The 11th edi­tion of the Char­ity Bowl, held an­nu­ally be­tween the two Corn­wall Catholic school ri­vals, has a start time of 6 p.m., at Joe St. De­nis Field, and the Pan­thers have a few rea­sons to be con­fi­dent go­ing into it. They are, after all, the SD&G High School Foot­ball League play­off de­fend­ing champs, win­ners of two straight Char­ity Bowls, and com­ing off a de­ci­sive road vic­tory, 41-0 in Alexan­dria over the Glen­garry Gaels.

But for quar­ter­back Fair­bairn, of Mor­ris­burg, this is new ter­ri­tory. He’s never played in a Char­ity Bowl be­fore; be­ing just in Grade 10, Fair­bairn is in his first sea­son of high school foot­ball.

Play­ing un­der lights, and not ex­actly Mol­son Sta­dium cal­i­bre ones, presents its chal­lenges for a passer too, but Fair­bairn isn’t con­cerned about that.

“I’m not wor­ried — it’s the same for both teams,’’ he said.

In that re­cent Pan­thers romp at Glen­garry, An­drew Dore had a pair of touch­downs to lead the at­tack, Nolan Shane ran one in, and Fair­bairn tossed for six points to Cole Fraser-Dupuis.

The de­fen­sive unit got in on the scor­ing too – Joey Bris­son scored after mak­ing an in­ter­cep­tion, and Gabe Baker made a fum­ble re­cov­ery and recorded a ma­jor.

But it hasn’t en­tirely been smooth sail­ing for the Pan­thers so far in 2017.

St. Joseph’s had dropped its sea­son opener, 16-8 at home to Corn­wall Col­le­giate, be­fore the Pan­thers found the win col­umn against Tagwi, beat­ing the War­riors 37-0.

The Fal­cons, mean­while, showed signs of be­ing a con­tender last Friday, in what would be a 24-7 loss at un­beaten La Ci­tadelle.

The Fal­cons have weapons, to be sure, and their quar­ter­back, Tyler Fisher, is a veteran, but Holy Trin­ity so far this sea­son has been mis­take and turnover prone.

“If we don’t ex­e­cute (well), we’re done — it’s that sim­ple,’’ Fal­cons head coach Jeff McAl­lis­ter said at his team’s Tues­day work­out. “The last two games, it’s been re­ally poor fun­da­men­tals.’’

But McAl­lis­ter was preach­ing an up­beat mes­sage at prac­tice. He knows that on paper, at the very least, the Fal­cons have the mak­ings of be­ing a for­mi­da­ble squad.

“I just need all of you guys to have the game of your lives (Thurs­day), that’s all I need,’’ McAl­lis­ter said with a smile while over­see­ing a drill for re­ceivers and backs.

Last year’s 10th Char­ity Bowl was a de­fen­sive thriller won 10-7 by the Pan­thers, and the con­test’s de­ci­sive play came mid­way in the third quar­ter.

St. Joseph’s, down 7-3, punted away the ball, and it would be mis­played by the Fal­cons, with Pan­thers player Nathin Hick­man pounc­ing on it in the end zone.

It marked the Pan­thers’ sec­ond straight win in the big game, with Holy Trin­ity hav­ing won three straight, from 2012-14.

Over­all for the Char­ity Bowl, St. Joseph’s has a 6-4 ad­van­tage.

So far, it’s look­ing like it’ll be a splen­did evening to play and watch foot­ball on what should be a dry sur­face. Thurs­day ’s ex­pected day­time high un­der bril­liant sunny skies is fore­cast to reach 17, drop­ping after dark and ul­ti­mately set­tling at a crisp overnight low of 4.

TODD HAM­BLE­TON/STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Fal­cons head coach Jeff McAl­lis­ter makes his point while quar­ter­back Tyler Fisher makes a throw at a Tues­day af­ter­noon work­out at Holy Trin­ity.

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