Pan­thers roll over Fal­cons

Sweet re­demp­tion for St. Joseph’s as it wins the SDG foot­ball cham­pi­onship 27-12

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - ALAN S. HALE ahale@post­media.com twit­ter.com/alan_s_hale

It was re­demp­tion time for the St. Joseph’s Pan­thers when they went up against their cross-town ri­vals, the Holy Trin­ity Fal­cons, for the SDG foot­ball cham­pi­onship on Fri­day af­ter­noon at their home field.

In 2017, the Pan­thers suf­fered an ag­o­niz­ing 3-0 de­feat against La Ci­tadelle Pa­tri­otes in the cham­pi­onship game. On Fri­day, St. Joe’s made up for it with a 27-12 win over Holy Trin­ity, and are now ready to set their sights on the OF­SAA cham­pi­onship.

“This was a lot of hard work that you boys did to get here,” head coach Mitch Za­p­atelli told his play­ers as they took a knee in front of him af­ter the game. “But this is only Step 1; now the com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing to get a lot tougher. Con­grat­u­la­tions, and I am proud of you all.”

Speak­ing to the Stan­dard­Free­holder af­ter the game, Za­p­atelli said they had been work­ing to­wards this game since Au­gust, es­pe­cially since there were plenty of vet­eran play­ers from last year who had been there for last year’s de­feat.

“All the boys knew what was at stake in this game. A lot of vet­er­ans didn’t want that feel­ing of los­ing in the cham­pi­onship again. You could tell that, this time, they were ready,” said Za­p­atelli.

The Pan­thers led the cham­pi­onship right from the start, although the first half was a game of inches. The Pan­thers had a bit of an un­con­ven­tional first quar­ter; ini­tially get­ting on the score­board with a rogue ball that earned them a sin­gle point. They fol­lowed that up by tack­ling a Fal­con player in the end zone for two points to end the quar­ter 3-0.

In the sec­ond quar­ter, the Fal­cons scored a touch­down them­selves, get­ting on the score­board with six points, but it would be a while be­fore they scored again.

St. Joe’s were kings of the in­ter­cept on Fri­day af­ter­noon. Sev­eral times dur­ing the game, a poorly thrown pass or fum­bled catch would cause the ball to fall into the ready em­brace of a Pan­ther player, which kept the Fal­cons con­stantly on the de­fence.

Be­cause of this, in the sec­ond quar­ter, the Pan­thers got a touch­down with fol­lowed by a point-af­ter touch­down and a field goal. The quar­ter ended 13-6.

In the third, the Pan­thers ex­tended their lead fur­ther with two sev­en­point touch­downs, fin­ish­ing with a score of 27-6.

In the fourth quar­ter, Holy Trin­ity found their feet and earned an­other six points with a touch­down. But although they were able to prevent St. Joe’s from scor­ing any fur­ther they just weren’t able to close the gap be­fore time ran out. The game ended 27-12.

OF­SAA is the goal, but there are a few steps re­main­ing for the Pan­thers. First up is the Eastern On­tario Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion semi­fi­nal against Gananoque. The win­ner there moves onto the EOSSAA cham­pi­onship game. The EOSSAA champ then plays the win­ner of the Cen­tral On­tario re­gion on Mon­day, Nov. 26 at the Eastern Bowl, to be held in Ot­tawa.

ALAN S. HALE/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREE­HOLDER

The St. Joe's Pan­thers could not be stopped as they charged to­wards the end­zone to win the SDG foot­ball cham­pi­onship on Fri­day.

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