Hawks roll to victory over Crusaders
BADEN — The faces change, yet the results remain the same.
The Jacob Hespeler Hawks continued their pursuit of a fifth consecutive Waterloo County (WCSSAA) senior high school championship Friday with a convincing 56-12 victory over the Waterloo-Oxford Crusaders.
Hawks quarterback Elijah Cruickshank rushed for a pair of one-yard touchdowns and connected with Seth Robertson on a 35-yard catch-and-run TD as the visitors improved to 2-0 on the season. Robertson also rushed for a 41-yard touchdown to open scoring and the Hawks overwhelmed the Crusaders (1-1) with three second-quarter touchdowns on their way to a 28-1 halftime lead.
The Jacob Hespeler defence performed admirably and didn’t concede a touchdown until Ryan Yantzi hit Wes Lobosco-Kirch for a 55-yard TD strike to round out the scoring.
“I think we’re playing to our potential and doing what we need to do,” said Jacob Hespeler defensive back Logan Hall.
“I really like the chemistry on this team, we’re closer than we were last year … we’re all friends.”
The Hawks are united in their desire to continue the team’s WCSSAA winning streak that started in Week 1 of the 2013 season. Hespeler hasn’t lost in the local league since falling to the Sir John A. Macdonald Highlanders in the 2012 champ game.
“We don’t want to be the team that loses the streak,” said Hall. “So yeah, there’s a bit of pressure on us with that.”
The Crusaders had a miserable start to the second half, failing to advance the ball on offence and then fumbling a punt attempt. The Hawks made them pay with a 10-yard touchdown run by Xavier Pined to make it 35-1.
The Hawks defence caused another fumble on the next possession and the offence capitalized when Ian Kuwabara rushed for a 35-yard score. Cruickshank added his second rushing touchdown to make it 49-1 and Ethan Butler ran for 75 yards to round out the Jacob Hespeler scoring. Hawks kicker Darrian Morgan was 8-for-8 on converts
Bright spots were few and far between for Waterloo-Oxford but they did happen.
Crusaders defender Colin Shannon recorded a punishing sack of Cruickshank in the second quarter and Teegan Wagler had an exciting 45-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. Waterloo-Oxford kicker Ethan Kirkbride connected for a 35-yard field with plenty to spare.
“When you’ve got teenage kids, they get a bit down and they don’t know how to get themselves back up. At times, they don’t trust themselves,” said Crusaders head coach Stephen Szimanski.
“We came together at the end and I think we’ll see more of that … We’re a better football team than we showed today.”
Meanwhile in Kitchener, Nick Andreotte rushed for three touchdowns and returned an interception 70 yards for another score as the Grand River Renegades scored a 31-1 win over Sir John A. Macdonald. The Waterloo Vikings blanked the KCI Raiders 25-0 in the other game.
In District 8 play, the St. David Celtics (2-0) are the only undefeated team after two weeks of play. The defending champions scored a 48-9 win over the St. Benedict Saints in one of two games played Thursday. The Resurrection Phoenix (1-1) recorded a 16-7 win over the St. Mary’s Eagles (0-2) in the other game.
Crusaders ballcarrier Evan Bender, centre, is tackled by Hawks players Owen McDonald, right, and Nick Kincaid.